The Association of Retinal age gap with metabolic syndrome and inflammation

Zhuoting Zhu, Dan Liu, Ruiye Chen, Wenyi Hu, Huan Liao, Katerina Kiburg, Jason Ha, Shuang He, Xianwen Shang, Yu Huang, Wei Wang, Honghua Yu, Xiaohong Yang, Mingguang He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a clustering of cardiometabolic components, posing tremendous burdens in the aging society. Retinal age gap has been proposed as a robust biomarker associated with mortality and Parkinson's disease. Although MetS and chronic inflammation could accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of mortality, the association of the retinal age gap with MetS and inflammation has not been examined yet. Methods: Retinal age gap (retina-predicted age minus chronological age) was calculated using a deep learning model. MetS was defined as the presence of three or more of the following: central obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and hyperglycemia. Inflammation index was defined as a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level above 3.0 mg/L. Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations of retinal age gaps with MetS and inflammation. Results: We found that retinal age gap was significantly associated with MetS and inflammation. Specifically, compared to participants with retinal age gaps in the lowest quartile, the risk of MetS was significantly increased by 10% and 14% for participants with retinal age gaps in the third and fourth quartile (odds ratio [OR]:1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01,1.21;, p =.030; OR: 1.14, 95% CI, 1.03,1.26; p =.012, respectively). Similar trends were identified for the risk of inflammation and combined MetS and inflammation. Conclusion: We found that retinal age gaps were significantly associated with MetS as well as inflammation. Given the noninvasive and cost-effective nature and the efficacy of the retinal age gap, it has great potential to be used as a screening tool for MetS in large populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Diabetes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • inflammation
  • metabolic syndrome
  • retinal age gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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