Diabetic retinopathy as a potential marker of Parkinson's disease: a register-based cohort study

Maria E. C. Larsen*, Anne S. Thykjaer, Frederik N. Pedersen, Sören Möller, Caroline S. Laugesen, Nis Andersen, Jens Andresen, Javad Hajari, Steffen Heegaard, Kurt Højlund, Ryo Kawasaki, Katja C. Schielke, Katrine H. Rubin, Morten Blaabjerg, Lonny Stokholm, Jakob Grauslund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Neurodegeneration is an early event in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, and an association between diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease has been proposed. In this nationwide register-based cohort study, we investigated the prevalence and incidence of Parkinson's disease among patients screened for diabetic retinopathy in a Danish population-based cohort. Cases (n = 173 568) above 50 years of age with diabetes included in the Danish Registry of Diabetic Retinopathy between 2013 and 2018 were matched 1:5 by gender and birth year with a control population without diabetes (n = 843 781). At index date, the prevalence of Parkinson's disease was compared between cases and controls. To assess the longitudinal relationship between diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease, a multivariable Cox proportional hazard model was estimated. The prevalence of Parkinson's disease was 0.28% and 0.44% among cases and controls, respectively. While diabetic retinopathy was not associated with present (adjusted odds ratio 0.93, 95% confidence interval 0.72-1.21) or incident Parkinson's disease (adjusted hazard ratio 0.77, 95% confidence interval 0.56-1.05), cases with diabetes were in general less likely to have or to develop Parkinson's disease compared to controls without diabetes (adjusted odds ratio 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.71-0.87 and adjusted hazard ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.78-1.00). In a national cohort of more than 1 million persons, patients with diabetes were 21% and 12% were less likely to have prevalent and develop incident Parkinson's disease, respectively, compared to an age- and gender-matched control population without diabetes. We found no indication for diabetic retinopathy as an independent risk factor for incident Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcab262
JournalBrain communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) (2021). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain.


Dive into the research topics of 'Diabetic retinopathy as a potential marker of Parkinson's disease: a register-based cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this