High HDL cholesterol: A risk factor for diabetic retinopathy? Findings from NO BLIND study

Ferdinando Carlo Sasso, Pia Clara Pafundi, Aldo Gelso, Valeria Bono, Ciro Costagliola, Raffaele Marfella, Celestino Sardu, Luca Rinaldi, Raffaele Galiero, Carlo Acierno, Chiara de Sio, Alfredo Caturano, Teresa Salvatore, Luigi Elio Adinolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To assess the correlation between diabetic retinopathy (DR) and potential risk factors, as well as the relationship between DR and the other complications of diabetes, in a real-life population of type 2 diabetes patients recruited in several centres in Italy. Methods: The NO BLIND is a cross-sectional, multicentre, observational study, which involved nine public outpatient clinics in Italy. The patients were assessed for eligibility from November 2016 till November 2017. Those enrolled underwent standard fundus oculi exam. Clinical and laboratory data were also collected. Results: 2068 T2DM underwent fundus oculi exam. 435 received diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy (21%). Diabetic retinopathy was independently associated with HDL cholesterol (O.R.: 1.042; 95% C.I.: 1.012–1.109; p = 0.004), Albumin Excretion Rate (AER) (O.R.: 1.001; 95% C.I.: 1.000–1.002; p = 0.034) and GFR (O.R.: 1.159; 95% C.I.: 1.039–1.294; p = 0.008). HDL cholesterol values were hence split in two classes according to a potential cut-off (40 mg/dL), as defined by the ROC curve. Following analysis confirmed the association between DR and high HDL values (p = 0.032). Somatic neuropathy and diabetic ulcer were independently related with DR (p < 0.001 and p = 0.012, respectively). Conclusions: A novel relationship between high HDL cholesterol and DR was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-244
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Diabetes complications
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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