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AD/PD 2022 | Novel probe for selective imaging of tau tangles in human retina

Silvia Di Angelantonio, PhD, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, discusses her work investigating the possibility of detecting Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers through a retinal scan to enable early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Peculiar biomarkers have been detected in the retina, including β-amyloid and tau accumulation, microglial and astrocyte activation, and vascular pathology – suggesting that a panel of biomarkers could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, especially as other pathologies share similar retinal peculiarities. Another line of investigation is the development of probes to be used in vivo. Studies evaluating in vivo probes in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and in retina tissue of autopsied patients have identified the presence of hyperphosphorylated tau in the retina layers, especially in the retinal ganglion cell layers. Dr Di Angelantonio describes a novel BODIPY-based probe for selective imaging of tau tangles in human retina. The probes were tested and showed high selectivity allowing in vitro imaging of hyperphosphorylated tau protein filaments with minimal background noise. In the future, these tracers will hopefully be used in living patients. Indeed, Dr Di Angelantonio is working with physicists who are developing a novel technique for fundus analysis to improve dimension sensitivity. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2022 International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases hosted in Barcelona, Spain.


This research was funded by D-tails srl and CrestOptics SPA