The spatial relation of diabetic retinal neurodegeneration with diabetic retinopathy

Jacoba A. Van De Kreekeid*, Stanley Darma, Jill M.P.L.Chan Pin Yinid, H. Stevie Tan, Michael D. Abramoff, Jos W.R. Twisk, Frank D. Verbraak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose Diabetic retinal neurodegeneration (DRN) has been demonstrated in eyes of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), even in the absence of diabetic retinopathy (DR). However, no studies have looked at the rate of change in retinal layers and presence/development of DR over time per quadrant of the macula. In this longitudinal study, we aimed to clarify whether the rate of DRN is associated with the development/presence of DR within 4 different quadrants of the retina. Methods 80 eyes of 40 patients with type 1 DM and no/minimal DR were included. At 4 visits over 6 years, SD-OCT and fundus images were acquired. Thickness of the Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer (RNFL), Ganglion Cell Layer (GCL) and Inner Plexiform Layer (IPL) was measured in a 1-6mm circle around the fovea overall and for each quadrant (superior, nasal, inferior, temporal). Fundus images were scored for the presence/absence of DR in these areas. Multilevel analyses were performed to determine the rate of change for each layer overall and per quadrant for eyes/quadrants without and with DR during the follow-up period. Results RNFL and GCL showed significant thinning over time, IPL significant thickening. These changes were more pronounced for GCL and IPL in eyes/quadrants with DR during the follow-up period. Conclusions RNFL and GCL both showed thinning over time, which was more pronounced in eyes with DR for GCL. This holds true even in regional parts of the retina, as quadrant analyses showed similar results, showing that structural DRN is associated with DR per quadrant independently.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0231552
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

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