The main aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of serum biomarkers to predict the worsening of retinal neurodysfunction in subjects with type 2 diabetes. For this purpose, we measured selected molecules (N-epsilon-carboxy methyl lysine (CML), laminin P1 (Lam-P1), and asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA)) in the serum of 341 participants of the EUROCONDOR study at baseline, 24, and 48 weeks. Retinal neurodysfunction was assessed by measuring implicit time (IT) using multifocal electroretinography, and structural changes were examined by spectral domain-optical coherence tomography. The values of IT at baseline were directly correlated with baseline serum concentrations of CML (r = 0.135, p = 0.013). Furthermore, in the placebo group, increase in CML concentration throughout follow-up correlated with the IT (r = 0.20; p = 0.03). Baseline serum levels of CML also correlated with macular retinal thickness (RT) (r = 0.231; p < 0.001). Baseline Lam-P1 levels correlated with the increase of the RT at the end of follow-up in the placebo group (r = 0.22; p = 0.016). We provide evidence that CML may be a biomarker of both retinal neurodysfunction and RT, whereas Lam-P1 was associated with RT only. Therefore, circulating levels of these molecules could provide a complementary tool for monitoring the early changes of diabetic retinopathy (DR).
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