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Taiji Nagaoka, Eiichi Sato, Atsushi Takahashi, Shiro Yokohama, Akitoshi Yoshida; Retinal Circulatory Changes Associated with Interferon-Induced Retinopathy in Patients with Hepatitis C. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(1):368-375. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-0182.
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purpose. To evaluate the effect of interferon (IFN) therapy on retinal microcirculation.
methods. Thirty-six patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with high-dose IFN were included in this prospective study. The changes in vessel diameter and blood velocity were measured, and the retinal blood flow (RBF) and wall shear rate (WSR) were calculated in the retinal arteries before and 2, 4, 8, 16, and 24 weeks after IFN therapy by using laser Doppler velocimetry.
results. Retinal blood velocity, RBF, and WSR significantly (P < 0.0001) increased in all patients, as early as 2 weeks after IFN therapy. The increase in RBF was independently correlated with a decrease in the red blood cell count. In 22 (61%) of the 36 patients asymptomatic retinopathy developed during treatment. In patients with retinopathy, the blood velocity and WSR increased, but the vessel diameter did not change, whereas the vessel diameter increased but the blood velocity and WSR did not change in patients without retinopathy 2 weeks after IFN therapy. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that patient age and the change in WSR at week 2 were risk factors for the development of IFN-induced retinopathy.
conclusions. RBF increases in association with IFN therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C. In addition, the increased WSR in patients with retinopathy indicates that retinal vascular endothelial dysfunction may be associated with IFN-induced retinopathy, because wall shear stress should be constant under physiologic conditions.
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