The Use of Retinal Microvascular Function and Telomere Length in Age and Blood Pressure Prediction in Individuals with Low Cardiovascular Risk


Ageing represents a major risk factor for many pathologies that limit human lifespan, including cardiovascular diseases. Biological ageing is a good biomarker to assess early individual risk for CVD. However, finding good measurements of biological ageing is an ongoing quest. This study aims to assess the use retinal microvascular function, separate or in combination with telomere length, as a predictor for age and systemic blood pressure in individuals with low cardiovascular risk. In all, 123 healthy participants with low cardiovascular risk were recruited and divided into three groups: group 1 (less than 30 years old), group 2 (31-50 years old) and group 3 (over 50 years old). Relative telomere length (RTL), parameters of retinal microvascular function, CVD circulatory markers and blood pressure (BP) were measured in all individuals. Symbolic regression- analysis was used to infer chronological age and systemic BP measurements using either RTL or a combination of RTL and parameters for retinal microvascular function. RTL decreased significantly with age ( = 0.010). There were also age-related differences between the study groups in retinal arterial time to maximum dilation ( = 0.005), maximum constriction ( = 0.007) and maximum constriction percentage ( = 0.010). In the youngest participants, the error between predicted versus actual values for the chronological age were smallest in the case of using both retinal vascular functions only ( = 0.039) or the combination of this parameter with RTL ( = 0.0045). Systolic BP was better predicted by RTL also only in younger individuals ( = 0.043). The assessment of retinal arterial vascular function is a better predictor than RTL for non-modifiable variables such as age, and only in younger individuals. In the same age group, RTL is better than microvascular function when inferring modifiable risk factors for CVDs. In older individuals, the accumulation of physiological and structural biological changes makes such predictions unreliable.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Medical School
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Medical School > Translational Medicine Research Group (TMRG)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Urban Technology and the Environment (ASTUTE)
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College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Additional Information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aged,blood pressure,Adult,Risk Factors,regression,Telomere,biological age,Middle Aged,telomeres,Cardiovascular Diseases,Biomarkers,prediction,Humans,Blood Pressure - physiology,Heart Disease Risk Factors
Publication ISSN: 2073-4409
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 16:23
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2022 09:40
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 4409/11/19/3037 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-10
Published Online Date: 2022-09-28
Accepted Date: 2022-09-26
Submitted Date: 2022-08-09
Authors: Shokr, Hala
Lush, Victoria
Dias, Irundika Hk (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-6620-8221)
Ekárt, Anikó (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-6967-5397)
De Moraes, Gustavo
Gherghel, Doina



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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