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Eva O Melin, Jonatan Dereke, Maria Thunander and Magnus Hillman


Depression has been associated with diabetic retinopathy and increased plasma levels of galectin-3, a lectin expressed in activated macrophages. Increased levels of sCD163, the soluble form of a macrophage expressed scavenger receptor involved in several inflammatory processes, have been demonstrated in the vitreous of the eye in type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients with severe diabetic retinopathy. The aim was to explore whether circulating sCD163 was associated with diabetic retinopathy, depression and/or galectin-3 in T1D patients, controlling for gender, metabolic factors, other diabetes complications, life style and medication.


Cross sectional.


Two hundred eighty-seven T1D patients, men 56%, age 18–59 years, diabetes duration ≥1 year, were consecutively recruited from one specialist diabetes clinic. Depression was assessed by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale. Blood samples, anthropometrics and blood pressure values were collected, supplemented with data from electronic medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Registry. High plasma sCD163 was defined as ≥0.575 mg/L (corresponding to the 80th percentile) and high plasma galectin-3 as ≥4.659 µg/L (corresponding to the 95th percentile).


The prevalence of depression was 10%, antidepressant medication 8%, diabetic retinopathy 72%, high sCD163 20% and high galectin 3 5%. High galectin-3 (AOR 9.7), antidepressants (AOR 3.8), diabetic retinopathy (AOR 2.4) and systolic blood pressure (per mmHg) (AOR 1.03) were associated with high sCD163.


This is the first study to show that circulating sCD163 was independently associated with galectin-3, the use of antidepressants and diabetic retinopathy, in patients with T1D. Depression was not associated with sCD163.