Frederique Hart de Ruyter, MD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, Netherlands, discusses the value of the retina for studying biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), given its structural and functional similarities to brain tissue. The retina is considered an extension of the central nervous system but can be directly imaged in a straightforward and non-invasive manner. The relationship between retinal changes and AD is complex and in an effort to further our understanding, Dr Hart de Ruyter looked into microglia and p-tau in the retina of patients with AD and non-AD tauopathies. In post-mortem retinal tissue samples, increased p-tau levels were seen in AD and primary tauopathies. Increased microglia activity was also seen, which was positively correlated with p-tau. Dr Hart de Ruyter notes key questions that need clarifying regarding this association, particularly whether microglia activation or tau pathology occurs first. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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