Association of Retinal Microvascular Characteristics with Short-term Memory Performance in Children Aged 4 to 5 Years

Leen J. Luyten, Yinthe Dockx, Narjes Madhloum, Hanne Sleurs, Nele Gerrits, Bram G. Janssen, Kristof Y. Neven, Michelle Plusquin, Eline B. Provost, Patrick De Boever, Tim S. Nawrot

Résultats de recherche: Contribution à un journal/une revueArticleRevue par des pairs


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..

langue originaleAnglais
Numéro d'articlee2011537
journalJAMA Network Open
Numéro de publication7
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 24 juil. 2020

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