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Arch Intern Med. 2000 Oct 23;160(19):2984-90.

Hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with the presence of retinopathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Hoorn study.

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Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Hyperhomocysteinemia is a recently recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease, independent of established risk factors.


To study the association between the homocysteine level and retinopathy among subjects with and without DM.


We studied an age-, sex-, and glucose tolerance-stratified random sample of a 50- to 75-year-old general white population in the Hoorn Study (N = 625). Retinal vascular changes (retinopathy) were assessed using ophthalmoscopy and/or fundus photography. Hyperhomocysteinemia was defined as a serum total homocysteine level greater than 16 micromol/L.


The prevalence of retinopathy was 9.8% (28/285) in subjects with normal glucose tolerance, 11.8% (20/169) in those with impaired glucose tolerance, 9.4% (10/106) in those with newly diagnosed type 2 DM, and 32.3% (21/65) in those with known type 2 DM. The prevalence of retinopathy was 10.3% (39/380) in subjects without hypertension and 16.3% (40/245) in subjects with hypertension; it was 12.0% (64/534) in subjects with a serum total homocysteine level of 16 micromol/L or less and 16.5% (15/91) in those with a serum total homocysteine level of more than 16 micromol/L. After stratification for DM and adjustment for age, sex, glycosylated hemoglobin, and hypertension, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for the relation between retinopathy and hyperhomocysteinemia was 0.97 (95% confidence interval, 0.42-2.82) in patients without DM and 3.44 (95% confidence interval, 1.13-10.42) in patients with DM (P =.08 for interaction).


The findings suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia may be a risk factor for retinopathy in patients with type 2 DM, but probably not in patients without DM. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:2984-2990

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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