There is increasing evidence that retinal vascular complexity (measured as fractal dimension, Df) may provide earlier insights into coronary artery disease (CAD) progression before conventional biomarkers can be detected. Here, we present a genome-wide association study (GWAS) aimed at elucidating the genetic component of Df and analyzing its association with CHD. To this end, Df was extracted from retinal fundus images and genotyping information of approximately 38,000 participants from the UK Biobank. The researchers detected 9 loci associated with Df that have been previously reported in studies of pigmentation, retinal width and tortuosity, hypertension, and CAD. Significant negative genetic correlation estimates confirmed the inverse association between Df and CAD and between Df and myocardial infarction (MI). Based on these findings, a model for predicting myocardial infarction combining clinical information, Df, and a polygenic CAD risk score was developed using a random forest algorithm. The results shed new light on the genetic basis of Df, revealing a common control with CAD and highlighting the advantages of its application in individualized MI risk prediction.
Decreased retinal vascular complexity is an early biomarker of MI supported by a shared genetic control
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