In this review, we summarize recent research examining the modifi

In this review, we summarize recent research examining the modifiable lifestyle and environmental determinants affecting the retinal microvasculature (Table 1) and potential clinical implications of these findings. Dietary fiber intake, regular fish consumption, and low

GI diets, such as those high in sugars and simple carbohydrates, are all associated with reduced risk of vascular disease [8,24,31]. Emerging data suggests that the relationship between diet and macrovascular disease may partly be mediated by associated changes in the microcirculation [20–22]. Recent work has shown that diet may have effects on retinal vascular caliber in the general population. For example, data from the ARIC study showed CH5424802 price that higher intake of dietary fiber was independently EMD 1214063 ic50 associated with wider retinal arteriolar caliber and narrower venular caliber, indicating a lower risk of cardiovascular

diseases [20]. Similarly, findings from the BMES also demonstrated beneficial effects of increasing frequency of fish consumption on retinal microvasculature independent of other cardiovascular risk factors [21]. On the contrary, high-GI diets have been linked to deleterious anatomic changes in the retinal microvasculature [21,22]. Kaushik et al. [22] suggest that high-GI diets were associated with wider retinal venules and greater stroke mortality in persons 50 years and older. This suggests that postprandial glucose may have deleterious effects on the cerebral microcirculation and may play a significant role in the relationship between diet and stroke mortality. More recent data from 823 schoolchildren

aged 12.8 (±0.8) years [42] demonstrated that there was no association between a high-GI diet and retinal arteriolar or venular caliber. This evidence suggests a possible dose-dependent, cumulative effect of diet on the microvasculature over time. The physiologic influence of diet on the retinal 5-FU chemical structure microcirculation is probably complex. Kan et al. [20] found that the effect of fiber intake on retinal microvascular caliber might be confounded by current hypertension and dyslipidemia. This suggests that the beneficial retinal microvascular changes seen with increased fiber intake may not be directly affected by fiber intake itself, but by associated decreases in adverse systemic conditions like hypertension and dyslipidemia. For example, fish consumption is associated with increases in HDL [5]. Increased concentration of HDL has a well-established vaso-protective and anti-atherogenic effect [44] and may alone explain the beneficial retinal microvascular changes associated with higher fish consumption. Findings demonstrating that the microvascular effects of diet were not evident in children free of systemic disease [42] support this theory.

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