Importance: Neurocognitive functions develop rapidly in early childhood and depend on the intrinsic cooperation between cerebral structures and the circulatory system. The retinal microvasculature can be regarded as a mirror image of the cerebrovascular circulation. Objective: To investigate the association between retinal vessel characteristics and neurological functioning in children aged 4 to 5 years. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this cohort study, mother-child pairs were recruited at birth from February 10, 2010, to June 24, 2014, and renewed consent at their follow-up visit from December 10, 2014, to July 13, 2018. Participants were followed up longitudinally within the prospective Environmental Influence on Aging in Early Life birth cohort. A total of 251 children underwent assessment for this study. Data were analyzed from July 17 to October 30, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures: Retinal vascular diameters, the central retinal arteriolar equivalent (CRAE), central retinal venular equivalent (CRVE), vessel tortuosity, and fractal dimensions were determined. Attention and psychomotor speed, visuospatial working memory, and short-term visual recognition memory were assessed by the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, including the following tasks: Motor Screening (MOT), Big/Little Circle (BLC), Spatial Span (SSP), and Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS). Results: Among the 251 children included in the assessment (135 girls [53.8%]; mean [SD] age, 4.5 [0.4] years), for every 1-SD widening in CRVE, the children performed relatively 2.74% (95% CI, -0.12 to 5.49; P =.06) slower on the MOT test, had 1.76% (95% CI, -3.53% to -0.04%; P =.04) fewer correct DMS assessments in total, and made 2.94% (95% CI, 0.39 to 5.29; P =.02) more errors given a previous correct answer in the DMS task on multiple linear regression modeling. For every 1-SD widening in CRAE, the total percentage of errors and errors given previous correct answers in the DMS task increased 1.44% (95% CI, -3.25% to 0.29%; P =.09) and 2.30% (95% CI, -0.14% to 4.61%; P =.07), respectively. A 1-SD higher vessel tortuosity showed a 4.32% relative increase in latency in DMS task performance (95% CI, -0.48% to 9.12%; P =.07). Retinal vessel characteristics were not associated with BLC and SSP test outcomes. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that children's microvascular phenotypes are associated with short-term memory and that changes in the retinal microvasculature may reflect neurological development during early childhood..
|Journal||JAMA Network Open|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Jul 2020|
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Air pollution exposure in early life: Placental molecular changes and clinical microvascular outcomesAuthor: LUYTEN, L., 26 Mar 2021
Supervisor: Chainiaux Debacq, F. (Supervisor), Nawrot, T. (External person) (Supervisor), Colpaert, J. V. (External person) (President), ARNOULD, T. (Jury), Bautmans, I. (External person) (Jury), Gyselaers, W. (External person) (Jury), VANOIRBEEK , J. (External person) (Jury) & Vrijens, K. (External person) (Jury)
Student thesis: Doc types › Doctor of Sciences