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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2017 May 1;76(5):376-383. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlx020.

Absence of Alzheimer Disease Neuropathologic Changes in Eyes of Subjects With Alzheimer Disease.

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From the Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (EAM, DM, MPF, BTH, ASR); and Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (NL).


Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, and is characterized by extracellular deposition of β-amyloid and intracellular accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau protein in the brain. These pathologic findings are identified postmortem. Various visual deficits in AD have been reported and there have been conflicting reports, through imaging and pathology studies, regarding the presence of changes in the globe that mirror Alzheimer changes in the brain. Moreover, both macular degeneration and glaucoma have been variously characterized as having AD-related features. We examined one or both eyes from 19 autopsy cases, 17 of which had varying degrees of AD-related changes, and 2 of which were age-matched controls. Three cases had glaucoma and 4 had macular degeneration. Immunohistochemistry for tau, β-amyloid, TDP-43, ubiquitin, and α-synuclein showed no evidence of inclusions, deposits or other protein accumulation in any case, in any part of the globe. This finding suggests that regardless of the severity of changes seen in the brain in AD, there are no similar changes in the globe.


Alzheimer disease; Biomarkers; Ocular changes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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