Retinal Vascular Branching in Healthy and Diabetic Subjects

Purpose: To measure the effect of nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) on retinal branching. To compare vascular branching in healthy and diabetic subjects with established biophysical models. Methods: Vascular bifurcations in arteries and veins were imaged in 17 NPDR and 26 healthy subjects with the Indiana adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO). Vessel measurements were grouped according to parent vessel diameters into large (≤50 ∼ <100 μm) and small (≤20 ∼ <50 μm) sizes. Vessel diameters and bifurcation angles were measured manually. Vascular diameters were compared with predictions of Murray's law using curve fitting. For analysis of bifurcation angles, two models from Zamir were compared: one based on the power required for blood pumping, the other based on drag force between blood and vascular wall. Results: For normal larger vessels, the exponent relating the parent and daughter branching diameters was significantly less than the value of 3 predicted by Murray's law (arteries: 2.59; veins: 1.95). In NPDR, the best-fit exponent was close to 3 for arteries but close to 2 in healthy subjects in veins, (arteries: 3.09; veins: 2.16). For both small arteries and veins, diabetics' exponent differed from healthy subjects (P < 0.01). Bifurcation angles in the healthy subjects (78° ± with a standard error (SE) of 0.9°) were not much different than in NPDR (79° ± SE 1.3°). The model based on minimizing pumping power predicted the measurements better than the one minimizing the vascular drag and lumen surface area. Conclusions: The relation between parent and daughter branch diameters changes in diabetes, but the branching angles do not.

Publication Date:
May 01 2017
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03

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