Title : Applying retinal vascular structures characteristics coupling with cortical visual system in Alzheimer's disease spectrum patients
Background: The cortical visual system dysfunction is closely related to the progression of Alzheimer's Disease(AD), while retinal vascular structures plays an important role in the integrity of the function of the visual network and became a potential biomarker of AD.
Aims: This study explored the association between cortical visual system and retinal vascular structures in AD-spectrum patients, and it established a screening tool to detect the preclinical AD based on these parameters identified in the retinal examination.
Methods: A total of 42 subjects were enrolled and were distributed two groups: 22 in patients of cognitive impairment and 20 healthy control. All participants underwent neuropsychological tests, optical coherence tomography angiography and resting-state fMRI imaging. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis was used to construct the cortical visual network. The association of functional connectivity of cortical visual system and retinal vascular structures were further explored in these subjects.
Results: This study found that the cognitive impairment group displayed prominently decreased functional connectivity of cortical visual system mainly involving the right inferior temporal gyrus, left supramarginal gyrus and right postcentral gyrus. Meantime, we observed retinal vascular structures characteristics was becoming deteriorated with the declining of functional connectivity in cortical visual system.
Conclusion: Our study provided novel insights in the aberrant cortical visual system in patients of cognitive impairment that strongly emphasize the critical role of retinal vascular structures characteristics, which could be used as potential biomarkers for diagnosing and monitoring the progression of AD.