Novel studies bring fresh methods in managing some incurable diseases


Denver, Colo.—A study presented this week at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2022 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo. used retina cell biology to discover innovative ways to monitor symptoms from untreatable diseases. They found that non-invasive retinal imaging biomarkers can be used to observe the advancement of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Non-invasive imaging displays retinal degeneration differences between natural aging and Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School Twin Cities and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston were able to use noninvasive retinal imaging to not only show loss of retinal nerve cells due to AD but were also able to differentiate similar changes due to natural aging from “Alzheimer’s induced neurovascular disease.”

They studied the retina’s superficial (SVP), middle (MVP) and deep (DVP) vascular plexuses in young to middle to old-aged mice. Hossein Nazari, MD, PhD, and team monitored the vascular and neuronal changes of the retina based upon immunohistochemistry and optical coherence tomography (OCT) in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. They saw “parallel deposition of abnormal proteins in the brain and the retina and the loss of neurons and vessels in the retina,” thus supporting their findings.

“Vascular changes accompany the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD),” said Nazari. “We compared the changes in the retina of an animal model of AD to control animals as a function of age and demonstrated a significant reduction in vascular density in the superficial and deep retinal vascular plexuses in the AD model, suggesting these changes can be used as non-invasive retinal imaging biomarkers to monitor the progression and staging of AD.”

  • Abstract title: Evaluation of neurovascular changes in retinal sublayers reveals differentiable retinal degeneration in Alzheimer's disease as compared natural aging
  • Presentation start/end time: Wednesday, May 4, 12:30 – 2:30pm MT
  • Location: Poster Hall (Denver Convention Center)
  • Also available on the virtual meeting site at beginning May 1
  • Abstract Number: F0360


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the following embargo dates:

  • May 1: Official launch of presentations of all posters (both presented in-person and virtually)
  • Rolling basis: Paper session, Symposia, Minisymposia, Cross-sectional Groups, and invited speaker sessions that have specific presentation times will be embargoed until the end of those individual time slots.

Media contact:
Jenniffer Scherhaufer