Retinal changes recorded in rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease
Research provides a basis for pursuing non-invasive retinal function tests to stage Alzheimer’s disease
Rockville, Md.—New research shows retinal cell types are vulnerable to Alzheimer’s pathology, suggesting retinal function may be useful in predicting and diagnosing changes in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease. This study will be presented during the 2021 Annual Meeting of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), being held virtually this year.
Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects 24 million people worldwide, is a disease characterized by accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles of Tau protein in the brain, associated with neurodegeneration and deficits in memory and cognition. Retinal pathology has been reported with Alzheimer’s disease as well.
Led by Rachael S. Allen, PhD, at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, the research team worked to determine whether the TgF344-AD transgenic rat model (n=7) of Alzheimer’s disease — which develops progressive brain pathology and cognitive dysfunction similar to patients with Alzheimer’s disease — also showed retinal changes associated with cognitive deficits. At the conclusion of the 15-month experiment, the rat model exhibited significant cognitive delays. Further, when assessing the mechanisms of retinal physiology and their alterations in disease via retinal function tests, significant delays were also noted.
The observed deficits in ERG components generated by the inner retina (Oscillatory Potentials) and retinal ganglion cells (Scotopic Threshold Response) suggest that these retinal cell types are vulnerable to Alzheimer’s pathology and that retinal function may be useful in predicting and diagnosing changes in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease.
“This work provides a basis for pursuing non-invasive retinal analysis, including ERG, as a way to stage Alzheimer’s disease,” Allen says. “I am excited about the opportunity to present this research at the ARVO Annual Meeting.”
- Abstract title: Retinal and cognitive function deficits in the TgF344-AD rat model of Alzheimer’s disease
- Presentation start/end time: Saturday, May 1, 2021, 10:15am – 12noon ET
- Presentation number: 3539203
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 ARVO.org.