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 disease 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.
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.
Hence, this review address 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.