July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Retinal morphology in pre-clinical Alzheimer’s Disease
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shaun Frost
    CSIRO, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • Yogi Kanagasingam
    CSIRO, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Yosef Koronyo
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • David Biggs
    Neurovision Imaging LLC, Sacramento, California, United States
  • Steven Verdooner
    Neurovision Imaging LLC, Sacramento, California, United States
  • Ralph Martins
    Australian Alzheimer Research Foundation, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Shaun Frost, None; Yogi Kanagasingam, None; Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, None; Yosef Koronyo, None; David Biggs, None; Steven Verdooner, None; Ralph Martins, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NHMRC ARC Dementia Research Fellowship 1099457
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 1123. doi:
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      Shaun Frost, Yogi Kanagasingam, Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, Yosef Koronyo, David Biggs, Steven Verdooner, Ralph Martins; Retinal morphology in pre-clinical Alzheimer’s Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):1123.

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

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Purpose : Brain imaging has revealed that amyloid beta-protein (AB) plaque pathology begins decades prior to diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Clinical trial results suggest that intervention in this pre-clinical phase will be required for disease modification, emphasizing the need for early detection. Our research has identified AB pathology, similar to that in the AD brain, but in the more accessible retina. Retinal morphology is being explored for non-invasive, early detection and monitoring of AD. In this study we utilise optical coherence tomography (OCT) to investigate whether retinal layer thickness is altered in clinical and pre-clinical AD, and how such changes relate to retinal and brain AB burden.

Methods : This report presents results from a trial of 192 participants from the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study in Perth, Australia. The cohort included individuals with diagnosed AD (n=22), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n=33) and healthy controls (HC, n=137). Participants underwent OCT imaging using a commercial device and automated software provided quantitative data on retinal layer thickness. OCT data was analysed with AIBL study data including clinical status, retinal AB burden, brain AB burden and cognitive test scores.

Results : Significant thinning of retinal layers in the superior macula was observed in AD compared to HC (p < 0.05). Opposing this trend, increased thickness in the same region was associated with brain (p < 0.05) and retinal (p < 0.05) AB deposition in the HC group, suggesting that inflammation in this region may occur in pre-clinical AD. For the MCI subgroup with high brain AB burden, retinal thickness in the same region had a positive correlation with retinal AB burden (p < 0.05).

Conclusions : The results indicate that OCT can detect retinal changes in pre-clinical AD, and suggest that pre-clinical AD pathogenesis may involve inflammation in affected retinal regions, followed by thinning due to atrophy as the disease advances. Retinal imaging has potential for non-invasive, cost-effective screening for preclinical AD. A practical early detection test for AD would accelerate recruitment for therapeutic trials and provide the basis of a population screening test.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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