Genetic study of diabetic retinopathy: Recruitment methodology and analysis of baseline characteristics

Georgia Kaidonis, Sotoodeh Abhary, Mark Daniell, Mark Gillies, Rhys Fogarty, Nikolai Petrovsky, Alicia Jenkins, Rohan Essex, John H. Chang, Bishwanath Pal, Alex W. Hewitt, Kathryn P. Burdon*, Jamie E. Craig

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a blinding disease of increasing prevalence that is caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Here we describe the patient recruitment methodology, case and control definitions, and clinical characteristics of a study sample to be used for genome-wide association analysis to detect genetic risk variants of DR. Methods: One thousand six hundred sixty-nine participants with either type 1 (T1) or type 2 (T2) diabetes mellitus (DM) aged 18 to 95 years were recruited in Australian hospital clinics. Individuals with T2DM had disease duration of at least 5 years and were taking oral hypoglycaemic medication, and/or insulin therapy. Participants underwent ophthalmic examination. Medical history and biochemistry results were collected. Venous blood was obtained for genetic analysis. Results: Six hundred eighty-three diabetic cases (178 T1DM and 505 T2DM participants) with sight-threatening DR, defined as severe non-proliferative DR, proliferative DR or diabetic macular oedema were included in this analysis. Eight hundred twelve individuals with DM but no DR or minimal non-proliferative DR were recruited as controls (191 with T1DM and 621 with T2DM). The presence of sight-threatening DR was significantly correlated with DM duration, hypertension, nephropathy, neuropathy, HbA1C and body mass index. Diabetic macular oedema was associated with T2DM (P<0.001), whereas proliferative DR was associated with T1DM (P<0.001). Conclusions: Adoption of a case-control study design involving extremes of the DR phenotype makes this a suitable cohort, for a well-powered genome-wide association study to detect genetic risk variants for DR.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)486-493
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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