Associations between depression and anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel caliber in adolescents and young adults

Meier, Madeline H., Gillespie, Nathan A., Hansell, Narelle K., Hewitt, Alex W., Hickie, Ian B., Lu, Yi, MacGregor, Stuart, Medland, Sarah E., Sun, Cong, Wong, Tien Y., Wright, Margaret J., Zhu, Gu, Martin, Nicholas G. and Mackey, David A. (2014) Associations between depression and anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel caliber in adolescents and young adults. Psychosomatic Medicine, 76 9: 732-738. doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000117


Author Meier, Madeline H.
Gillespie, Nathan A.
Hansell, Narelle K.
Hewitt, Alex W.
Hickie, Ian B.
Lu, Yi
MacGregor, Stuart
Medland, Sarah E.
Sun, Cong
Wong, Tien Y.
Wright, Margaret J.
Zhu, Gu
Martin, Nicholas G.
Mackey, David A.
Title Associations between depression and anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel caliber in adolescents and young adults
Journal name Psychosomatic Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1534-7796
0033-3174
Publication date 2014-11-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000117
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 76
Issue 9
Start page 732
End page 738
Total pages 7
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Language eng
Abstract Objective: Previous longitudinal studies suggest that depression and anxiety are associated with risk for cardiovascular disease. The aim of the present study was to test whether an association between depression and anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel caliber, an indicator of subclinical cardiovascular risk, is apparent as early as adolescence and young adulthood. Methods: Participants were 865 adolescents and young adults who participated in the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study and the Twin Eye Study in Tasmania. Participants completed an assessment of depression/anxiety symptoms (the Somatic and Psychological Health Report) when they were 16.5 years old (mean age), and they underwent retinal imaging, on average, 2.5 years later (range, 2 years before to 7 years after the depression/anxiety assessment). Retinal vessel caliber was assessed using computer software. Results: Depression and anxiety symptoms were associated with wider retinal arteriolar caliber in this sample of adolescents and young adults (beta = 0.09, p = .016), even after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors (beta = 0.08, p = .025). Multiple regression analyses revealed that affective symptoms of depression/anxiety were associated with retinal vessel caliber independently of somatic symptoms. Conclusions: Depression and anxiety symptoms are associated with measurable signs in the retinal microvasculature in early life, suggesting that pathological microvascular mechanisms linking depression/anxiety and cardiovascular disease may be operative from a young age.
Formatted abstract
Objective: Previous longitudinal studies suggest that depression and anxiety are associated with risk for cardiovascular disease. The aim of the present study was to test whether an association between depression and anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel caliber, an indicator of subclinical cardiovascular risk, is apparent as early as adolescence and young adulthood.

Methods: Participants were 865 adolescents and young adults who participated in the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study and the Twin Eye Study in Tasmania. Participants completed an assessment of depression/anxiety symptoms (the Somatic and Psychological Health Report) when they were 16.5 years old (mean age), and they underwent retinal imaging, on average, 2.5 years later (range, 2 years before to 7 years after the depression/anxiety assessment). Retinal vessel caliber was assessed using computer software.

Results: Depression and anxiety symptoms were associated with wider retinal arteriolar caliber in this sample of adolescents and young adults ([beta] = 0.09, p = .016), even after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors ([beta] = 0.08, p = .025). Multiple regression analyses revealed that affective symptoms of depression/anxiety were associated with retinal vessel caliber independently of somatic symptoms.

Conclusions: Depression and anxiety symptoms are associated with measurable signs in the retinal microvasculature in early life, suggesting that pathological microvascular mechanisms linking depression/anxiety and cardiovascular disease may be operative from a young age.
Keyword Depression
Anxiety
Retinal vessel caliber
Cardiovascular
Adolescence
Young adults
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID R00DA023549
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
 
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