July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Alzheimer's disease manifestation in the retina: early biomarkers and retinal imaging in patients
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui
    Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
    Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (P), NeuroVision Imaging, LLC (F), NeuroVision Imaging, LLC (C)
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH/NIA R01AG056478; NIH/NIA R01AG055865; NIH/NIA R41AG044897; The Saban Family Foundation; The Maurice Marciano Family Foundation
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 7. doi:
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      Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui; Alzheimer's disease manifestation in the retina: early biomarkers and retinal imaging in patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):7.

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

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Presentation Description : Noninvasive retinal imaging could provide an exceptional window for early diagnosis and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, retinal pathology in this disorder is poorly understood and disease signs were largely thought to be restricted to the brain. Studies have shown that along with cognitive dysfunctions, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease suffer from visual impairments and sleep disturbances that could be re-attributed to retinopathy. We previously identified the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-β plaques, in the retina of patients including early-stage cases. Retinal amyloid accumulation was shown to be associated with retinal neuronal loss and tauopathy, mimicking disease in the brain. Our ongoing in-depth investigation into characteristic and related biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in the retina and brain of patients reveals that the disease massively affects the retina. Certain retinal regions and cellular layers are more vulnerable than others, and there are predictable patterns of spatial and layer distribution of disease signs, depending on disease stage. Further, we find a tight co-localization of amyloid-β deposits, inflammation, and vascular abnormalities, contributing to retinal neuronal degeneration. To translate these findings, our team has developed a noninvasive retinal amyloid imaging approach, utilizing curcumin as an Aβ-labeling agent and a modified SLO ophthalmic device. We successfully demonstrate the feasibility to detect and quantify amyloid deposits in living patients and find a significant increase in retinal amyloid index in Alzheimer’s patients as compared to cognitively normal controls. Overall, these studies provide a strong rationale for developing and validating noninvasive retinal imaging tools with high spatial resolution and specificity to facilitate early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and prediction of disease progression.

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.


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