June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
Retinal microvascular evaluation in Alzheimer's disease
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gareth J McKay
    Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Amy McGowan
    Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Alexander Maxwell
    Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Chris Cardwell
    Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Carol Yim-lui Cheung
    Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore, Singapore
  • Vittorio Silvestri
    Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Peter Passmore
    Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Giuliana Silvestri
    Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Michael Andrew Williams
    Centre for Medical Education, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Gareth McKay, None; Amy McGowan, None; Alexander Maxwell, None; Chris Cardwell, None; Carol Cheung, None; Vittorio Silvestri, None; Peter Passmore, None; Giuliana Silvestri, None; Michael Williams, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 2784. doi:
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      Gareth J McKay, Amy McGowan, Alexander Maxwell, Chris Cardwell, Carol Yim-lui Cheung, Vittorio Silvestri, Peter Passmore, Giuliana Silvestri, Michael Andrew Williams; Retinal microvascular evaluation in Alzheimer's disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2784.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: Cerebral small-vessel disease has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The retinal microvasculature is accessible through non-invasive visualisation and parameters measured can be used to assess the systemic microcirculation. We evaluated retinal microvascular parameters in a prospective case-control study of AD patients and cognitively normal controls.

Methods: Cases had a diagnosis of AD established by a senior clinician using NINCDS ADRDA criteria during routine care at a hospital memory clinic. Controls were individuals >65 years of age with a mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score >26 out of 30. Retinal photographs were analyzed using a computer-assisted program (Singapore I Vessel Assessment, SIVA), and quantitative retinal microvascular parameters measured (caliber, fractal dimension, tortuosity, and bifurcation). Logistic regression models were used to compute the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval for AD adjusting for age, gender, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and history of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. This research was approved by the Office of Research Ethics Committee Northern Ireland.

Results: Data from 191 AD cases and 298 cognitively normal controls were analysed. Participants with decreased venular fractal dimension were more likely to have AD (P=0.015) following adjustment for age, gender, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and history of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (OR per standard deviation decrease of 1.30 [95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.60]). Other measured retinal vascular parameters were not associated with AD.

Conclusions: Patients with AD have an altered microvascular network in the retina (sparser retinal venules) compared with cognitively normal controls. The changes observed in retinal microvasculature may reflect similar pathophysiological processes in the cerebral microvasculature in the brains of patients with AD.

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