Aβ and tau pathology in the retina of Alzheimer’s disease patients and non-demented elderly individuals and its relation to the brain pathology
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of neurodegenerative dementia in the elderly. Its complex pathogenesis is linked to the accumulation of abnormal phosphorylated τ protein and amyloid β peptide aggregates in the central nervous system. However, between the initiation of this protein aggregation and the onset of cognitive impairment, there is a gap of more than 10 years. Given that non-demented individuals already exhibit preclinical AD-related changes in the brain, there is an urgent need for efficient methods to diagnose AD in this preclinical phase. Recently, retinal imaging of AD lesions has been put forward for early AD diagnosis. Indeed, the retina, which is considered a window to the brain, displays manifestations of AD and offers unique opportunities for in-vivo imaging. However, to clarify the diagnostic value of retinal imaging, it is essential to establish whether there is an AD-specific pattern of Aβ and p-τ pathology in the retina, distinct from other forms of retinal degeneration, that correlates with AD pathology in the brain. Therefore, I will study the distribution patterns of Aβ and p-τ in human retina samples from non-demented and demented patients. Furthermore, it is important to clarify the pathomechanisms underlying the accumulation of Aβ and p-τ pathology in the retina. These I will tackle by studying Aβ and p-τ cooperation and propagation in the retina and the visual system.