Retinal microvascular network attenuation in Alzheimer's disease

Michael A. Williams, Amy J. McGowan, Chris R. Cardwell, Carol Y. Cheung, David Craig, Peter Passmore, Giuliana Silvestri, Alexander P. Maxwell, Gareth J. McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)
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INTRODUCTION:Cerebral small-vessel disease has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’sdisease (AD). The retinal microvasculature enables non-invasive visualization andevaluation of the systemic microcirculation. We evaluated retinal microvascular parametersin a case-control study of AD patients and cognitively-normal controls. 

METHODS:Retinal images were computationally analyzed and quantitative retinal parameters (caliber,fractal dimension, tortuosity, and bifurcation) measured. Regression models were used tocompute odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) for AD with adjustment forconfounders. 

RESULTS:Retinal images were available in 213 AD participants and 294 cognitively-normal controls.Persons with lower venular fractal dimension (OR per standard deviation [SD] increase, 0.77[CI: 0.62–0.97]) and lower arteriolar tortuosity (OR per SD increase, 0.78 [CI: 0.63–0.97])were more likely to have AD following appropriate adjustment. 
DISCUSSION:Patients with AD have a sparser retinal microvascular network and retinal microvascularvariation may represent similar pathophysiological events within the cerebralmicrovasculature of patients with AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalAlzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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