UCI News

Alzheimer's lesions found in mice retinas

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but new research indicates they also may mirror a brain ravaged…

October 30, 2009

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but new research indicates they also may mirror a brain ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease. UC Irvine neuroscientists have found that retinas in mice genetically altered to have Alzheimer’s undergo changes similar to those that occur in the brain – most notably the accumulation of amyloid plaque lesions. In addition, the scientists discovered that when Alzheimer’s therapies are tested in such mice, retinal changes that result might better predict how the treatments will work in humans than changes in mouse brain tissue. These findings are key to developing retinal imaging technology that could help diagnose and treat people with Alzheimer’s, which afflicts 5.3 million people in the U.S. and is the leading cause of elderly dementia. The study, led by neuroscientist Zhiqun Tan (pictured), appears in the November issue of The American Journal of Pathology.