Rajeev H. Muni, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C., of the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues examined inflammatory biomarkers and the risk of diabetic retinopathy in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial population (Online First).

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss in working-age individuals in North America and most of the vision loss is attributed to diabetic macular edema (a collection of fluid in the eye). Some studies have suggested that chronic low-grade inflammation may play a role in the pathogenesis (development) of diabetic retinopathy (DR), according to the study background.  

Researchers measured levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and other biomarkers in stored baseline blood samples from the trial group. The trial population included 1,441 participants with type 1 diabetes mellitus who were 13 to 39 years of age.  

"In conclusion, we found that after adjusting for known risk factors, increasing quintiles of baseline hsCRP level may be associated with higher risks of incident [clinically significant macular edema] CSME and the development of macular hard exudate. ... With further research, these findings may lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of CSME and retinal hard exudates and may lead to more effective strategies for retinopathy prevention and management," the study concludes.