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AAIC 2022 | Investigating the impact of TBI on Alzheimer’s pathology in the retina

M. Natalia Vergara, PhD, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, discusses an evaluation of the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) on retinal histopathology in the Tg-F344-AD transgenic rat model. TBI is associated with a greater than 2-fold increased risk of developing AD, but their pathophysiological link is poorly explicated. To shed light on this, Tg-F344-AD rats and wild-type controls underwent controlled cortical impact, mimicking repetitive mild TBI, or sham procedure. Histopathological analyses of the animal retinas were conducted at four months post-impact. Alzheimer’s disease markers were identified in the retinas of the Tg-F344-AD rats, showing amyloid beta deposition and neuroinflammation. Notably, TBI was shown to enhance the severity of this phenotype, as the AD rats who underwent controlled cortical impact showed increased formation of amyloid plaques. It is hoped this model will aid further investigation into the pathophysiology of AD in the context of TBI. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.