Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the aberrant deposition of protein in the brain and is the leading cause of dementia worldwide. Increasingly, there have been reports of the presence of these protein hallmarks in the retina. In this study, we assayed the retina of 5xFAD mice, a transgenic model of amyloid deposition known to exhibit dementia-like symptoms with age. Using OCT, we found that the retinal nerve fiber layer was thinner in 5xFAD at 6, 12, and 17 months of age compared with wild-type littermates, but the inner plexiform layer was thicker at 6 months old. Retinal function showed reduced ganglion cell responses to light in 5xFAD at 6, 12, and 17 months of age. This functional loss was observed in the outer retina at 17 months of age but not in younger mice. We showed using immunohistochemistry and ELISA that soluble and insoluble amyloid was present in the retina and brain at all ages. In conclusion, we report that amyloid is present in brain and retina of 5xFAD mice and that the pattern of neuronal dysfunction occurs in the inner retina at the early ages and progresses to encompass the outer retina with age. This implies that the inner retina is more sensitive to amyloid changes in early disease and that the outer retina is also affected with disease progression.
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- Alzheimer’s disease
- optical coherence tomography