Ocular manifestations of chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Slick, Nathalie Rose
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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by a tauopathy in the form of aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau throughout the CNS. Individuals suffering from CTE experience many different symptoms that result in dementia and severe cognitive decline along with a heightened occurrence of suicide. Repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions or subconcussive blows, are responsible for the development of CTE. Therefore, individuals who participate in contact sports, such as football and hockey, are at a high risk of developing this disease. Currently, there is no method for detecting CTE during life and the diagnosis can only be made at autopsy. At present nothing is known about the eye pathology of CTE. But if a distinctive profile of ocular abnormalities could be identified, it would raise the possibility that CTE could be diagnosed during life by an eye exam. For this research, ten eyes of individuals suffering from varying stages of CTE were collected, dissected, and observed under a microscope to find pathology associated with CTE. The antibodies of interest are pTDP-43, p62, αβ crystallin, and CP13. Pathology was found in the retina, mostly in the ganglion cell layer, throughout the different stages of CTE with the most severe pathology occurring in the most severe cases. These results can serve as a foundation for continued CTE research in the eye and ultimately result in potential ophthalmological diagnostic tests in individuals suffering from CTE.