Alzheimer’s disease and retinal degeneration: A glimpse at essential trace metals in ocular fluids and tissues

Alessandra Micera, Luca Bruno, Andrea Cacciamani, Mauro Rongioletti, Rosanna Squitti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Life expectancy is increasing all over the world, although neurodegenerative disorders might drastically affect the individual activity of aged people. Of those, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is one of the most social-cost age-linked diseases of industrialized countries. To date, retinal diseases seem to be more common in the developing world and characterize principally aged people. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a late-onset, neurodegenerative retinal disease that shares several clinical and pathological features with AD, including stress stimuli such as oxidative stress, inflammation and amyloid formations. Methods: In both diseases, the detrimental intra/extra-cellular deposits have many similarities. Aging, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, obesity, arteriosclerosis and smoking are risk factors to develop both diseases. Cellular aging routes have similar organelle and signaling patterns in retina and brain. The possibility to find out new research strategies represent a step forward to disclose potential treatment for both of them. Essential trace metals play critical roles in both physiological and pathological condition of retina, optic nerve and brain, by influencing metabolic processes chiefly upon complex multifactorial pathogenesis. Conclusion: Hence, this review addresses current knowledge about some up-to-date investigated essential trace metals associated with AD and AMD. Changes in the levels of systemic and ocular fluid essential metals might reflect the early stages of AMD, possibly disclosing neurodegeneration pathways shared with AD, which might open to potential early detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1083
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Alzheimer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Copper
  • Early diagnosis
  • Metal tracers
  • Ocular fluids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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