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Absence of beta-amyloid in cortical cataracts of donors with and without Alzheimer"s disease

Poster Details

First Author: J.Rosandic SPAIN

Co Author(s):    R. Michael   G. Montenegro   E. Lobato   F. Tressera   R. Barraquer   G. Vrensen

Abstract Details


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the morphology of lens opacities/cataracts in donor eyes and to determine whether there are amyloid-like changes and specifically beta-amyloid deposits in human cortical cataracts in lenses from human donors with and without AlzheimerṀs disease.


Centro de Oftalmologia Barraquer/Barcelona/Spain Barraquer Ophthalmology Center


Eye lenses from human donors with and without AlzheimerṀs disease were studied to evaluate the presence of amyloid in cortical cataract. We obtained 39 lenses from 21 postmortem donors with AlzheimerṀs disease and 15 lenses from age-matched controls provided by the Banco de Ojos para Tratamientos de la Ceguera (Eye Bank,Barcelona,Spain). For 17 donors,Alzheimer was clinically diagnosed by general physicians and for 4 donors the diagnosis was neuropathologically confirmed. Of the 21 donors with Alzheimer, 6 had pronounced bilateral cortical lens opacities and 15 only minor or no cortical opacities. As controls, 7 donors with pronounced cortical opacities and 8 donors with almost transparent lenses were selected. All lenses were photographed in a dark field stereomicroscope. Histological sections were analyzed using a standard and a mores sensitive Congo red protocol, thioflavin staining and beta-amyloid immunohistochemistry. Brain tissues from two donors, one with cerebral amylois angiopathy and another with advanced Alzheimer-related changes and one cornea with lattice dystrophy were used as positive controls for the staining techniques.


Of the 17 donors with clinical AlzheimerṀs disease, 12 showed no cortical opacities or some with minor extension. The remaining 5 donors had pronounced cortical lens opacities. Of the 4 donors with neuropathological Alzheimer, 3 showed minor or no cortical opacities and one had pronounced cortical lens opacity. The cortical opacities were always located between 400 and 700 micrometers. Thioflavin, standard and modified Congo red staining were positive in the control brain tissues and in the dystrophic cornea. Beta-amyloid immunohistochemistry was positive in the brain tissues but not in the cornea samples. Lenses from control and Alzheimer donors were, without exception, negative after Congo red, thioflavin and beta-amyloid immunohistochemical staining. The results of the positive control tissues correspond well with known observations in AlzheimerṀs disease, amyloid angiopathy and corneas with lattice dystrophy.


The absence of stainig an AlzheimerṀs disease and control lenses with the techniques employed lead us to conclude that there is no beta-amyloid in lenses from donors with Alzheimer or in control cortical cataracts.

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