We examined whether baseline plasma levels of markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are associated with the incidence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in African Americans with type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
At baseline and follow-up examinations, detailed ocular examination, structured clinical interview, venous blood specimens, and masked grading of seven standard field retinal photographs were obtained. Baseline plasma levels of 28 inflammatory biomarkers, measured using multiplex bead analysis system, were measured in the participants.
After adjusting for age, glycemic control, and other potential confounders, baseline plasma levels of E-selectin were associated significantly with progression of DR, E-selectin and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels with incidence of proliferative DR (PDR), and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and TNF-α levels with incidence of macular edema (ME).
In African Americans with T1DM, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction precede the development of DR, thus supporting the notion that inflammation may influence progression/incidence of disease.
In 412 African Americans with type 1 diabetes baseline plasma levels of the adhesion molecules E selectin and s-ICAM1, and of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α were found to be independent predictors of diabetic retinopathy progression.