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Effects of age, blood pressure and antihypertensive treatments on retinal arterioles remodeling assessed by adaptive optics

Rosenbaum, David; Mattina, Alessandro; Koch, Edouard; Rossant, Florence; Gallo, Antonio; Kachenoura, Nadjia; Paques, Michel; Redheuil, Alban; Girerd, Xavier

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000894
ORIGINAL PAPERS: Blood vessels

Background: In humans, adaptive optics camera enables precise large-scale noninvasive retinal microcirculation evaluation to assess ageing, blood pressure and antihypertensive treatments respective roles on retinal arterioles anatomy.

Method: We used adaptive optics camera rtx1 (Imagine-Eyes, Orsay, France) to measure wall thickness, internal diameter and to calculate wall-to-lumen ratio (WLR) and wall cross-sectional area of retinal arterioles. This assessment was repeated within a short period in two subgroups of hypertensive individuals without or with a drug-induced blood pressure drop.

Results: In 1000 individuals, mean wall thickness, lumen diameter and WLR were 23.2 ± 3.9, 78.0 ± 10.9 and 0.300 ± 0.054 μm, respectively. Blood pressure and age both independently increased WLR by thickening arterial wall. In opposite, hypertension narrowed lumen in younger as compared to older individuals (73.2 ± 9.0 vs. 81.7 ± 10.2 μm; P < 0.001), whereas age exerted no influence on lumen diameter. Short-term blood pressure drop (−29.3 ± 17.3/−14.4 ± 10.0 mmHg) induced a WLR decrease (−6.0 ± 8.0%) because of lumen dilatation (+4.4 ± 5.9%) without wall thickness changes. By contrast, no modifications were observed in individuals with stable blood pressure. In treated and controlled hypertensives under monotherapy WLR normalization was observed because of combined wall decrease and lumen dilatation independently of antihypertensive pharmacological classes. In multivariate analysis, hypertension drug regimen was not an independent predictor of any retinal anatomical indices. Retinal arteriolar remodeling comprised blood pressure and age-driven wall thickening as well as blood pressure-triggered lumen narrowing in younger individuals.

Conclusion: Remodeling reversal observed in controlled hypertensives seems to include short-term functional and long-term structural changes.

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aPreventive Cardiovascular Unit, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris

bSorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM 1146, CNRS 7371, Laboratoire d’imagerie Biomédicale

cImaging Core Lab, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, ICAN

dUnité INSERM 968 Institut de la vision, Centre d’Investigation Clinique 503 Centre Hospitalier National des Quinze-Vingts, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris


fDépartement d’imagerie cardiovasculaire et de radiologie interventionnelle, Pôle Imagerie–Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France

Correspondence to David Rosenbaum, Unité INSERM 1146, Laboratoire d’imagerie Biomédicale, Faculté de médecine Pierre et Marie Curie, 91 Boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France. Tel: +33142175774; fax: +33 142 177234; e-mail:

Received 20 October, 2015

Revised 20 January, 2016

Accepted 29 January, 2016

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