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September 13, 2000

Haptoglobin Genotype as a Risk Factor for Diabetic Retinopathy

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(10):1244-1245. doi:10.1001/jama.284.10.1239

To the Editor: The development of diabetic retinopathy has been related to hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress.1 Haptoglobin (HP) is 1 of many known antioxidant proteins and is encoded by 2 different alleles, whose products differ markedly in their antioxidant ability.2 Patients who are homozygous for the 1 allele (HP 1-1) form dimeric HP molecules, whereas patients who are heterozygous (HP 1-2) or homozygous (HP 2-2) for the 2 allele form multimers of 2 or more HP molecules. These multimeric HP complexes are sterically hindered from binding to hemoglobin and also have less access to the extravascular space. Thus, we hypothesized that HP genotype may predict susceptibility to diabetic retinopathy.