The goal of this study was to determine the retinal blood flow rate (BFR) and blood flow velocity (BFV) of pre-capillary arterioles and post-capillary venules in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Forty patients (20 AD and 20 MCI) and 21 cognitively normal (CN) controls with a similar age range (± 5 yrs) were recruited. A retinal function imager (RFI) was used to measure BFRs and BFVs of arterioles and venules in the macular region. The thickness of the ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) was measured using Zeiss Cirrus optical coherence tomography. Macular BFRs in AD group were 2.64 ± 0.20 nl/s (mean ± standard deviation) in arterioles and 2.23 ± 0.19 nl/s in venules, which were significantly lower than in MCI and CN groups (P < 0.05). In addition, BFRs in MCI were lower than in CN in both arterioles and venules (P < 0.05). The BFV of the arterioles was 3.20 ± 1.07 mm/s in AD patients, which was significantly lower than in CN controls (3.91 ± 0.77 mm/s, P = 0.01). The thicknesses of GCIPL in patients with AD and MCI were significantly lower than in CN controls (P < 0.05). Neither BFV nor BFR in arterioles and venules was related to age, GCIPL thickness, mini mental state examination (MMSE) score and disease duration in patients with AD and MCI (P > 0.05). The lower BFR in both arterioles and venules in AD and MCI patients together with the loss of GCIPL were evident, indicating the impairment of the two components in the neurovascular-hemodynamic system, which may play a role in disease progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)