Circulating Metabolites and Lipids Are Associated to Diabetic Retinopathy in Individuals With Type 1 Diabetes

Viktor Rotbain Curovic, Tommi Suvitaival, Ismo Mattila, Linda Ahonen, Kajetan Trošt, Simone Theilade, Tine W Hansen, Cristina Legido-Quigley, Peter Rossing

43 Citations (Scopus)


Omics-based methods may provide new markers associated to diabetic retinopathy (DR). We investigated a wide omics panel of metabolites and lipids related to DR in type 1 diabetes. Metabolomic analyses were performed using two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry and lipidomic analyses using an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography quadruple time-of-flight mass spectrometry method in 648 individuals with type 1 diabetes. Subjects were subdivided into no DR, mild nonproliferative DR (NPDR), moderate NPDR, proliferative DR, and proliferative DR with fibrosis. End points were any progression of DR, onset of DR, and progression from mild to severe DR tracked from standard ambulatory care and investigated using Cox models. The cohort consisted of 648 participants aged a mean of 54.4 ± 12.8 years, 55.5% were men, and follow-up was 5.1-5.5 years. Cross-sectionally, 2,4-dihydroxybutyric acid (DHBA), 3,4-DHBA, ribonic acid, ribitol, and the triglycerides 50:1 and 50:2 significantly correlated (P < 0.042) to DR stage. Longitudinally, higher 3,4-DHBA was a risk marker for progression of DR (n = 133) after adjustment (P = 0.033). We demonstrated multiple metabolites being positively correlated to a higher grade of DR in type 1 diabetes and several triglycerides being negatively correlated. Furthermore, higher 3,4-DHBA was an independent risk marker for progression of DR; however, confirmation is required.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2217-2226
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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