Obesity and the microvasculature: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Adrien Boillot, Sophia Zoungas, Paul Mitchell, Ronald Klein, Barbara Klein, Mohammad Kamran Ikram, Caroline Klaver, Jie Jin Wang, Bamini Gopinath, E. Shyong Tai, Aljoscha Steffen Neubauer, Serge Hercberg, Laima Brazionis, Seang-Mei Saw, Tien-Yin Wong, Sebastien Czernichow*, META-EYE Study Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Overweight and obesity are thought to significantly influence a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly via its effect on the microvasculature. Retinal vascular caliber is a surrogate marker of microvascular disease and a predictor of cardiovascular events. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the association between body mass index (BMI) and retinal vascular caliber.

Methods and Findings
Relevant studies were identified by searches of the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 1966 to August 2011. Standardized forms were used for data extraction. Among over 44,000 individuals, obese subjects had narrower arteriolar and wider venular calibers when compared with normal weight subjects, independent of conventional cardiovascular risk factors. In adults, a 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with a difference of 0.07 μm [95% CI: −0.08; −0.06] in arteriolar caliber and 0.22 μm [95% CI: 0.21; 0.23] in venular caliber. Similar results were found for children.

Higher BMI is associated with narrower retinal arteriolar and wider venular calibers. Further prospective studies are needed to examine whether a causative relationship between BMI and retinal microcirculation exists.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52708
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Obesity and the microvasculature: a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this