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J Nutr Health Aging. 2008 Jan;12(1):61S-5S.

Amyloid and tau imaging, neuronal losses and function in mild cognitive impairment.

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  • 1David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, B2-086A CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6948, USA.



Establish new approaches for early diagnosis of dementia, based on imaging amyloid and tau pathology, cell losses and neuronal function, in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI),. The overall aim is to develop effective tools for monitoring disease progression in the living patient to facilitate discovery of early therapeutic interventions to modify the course of the disease.


Use 2-(1-{6-[(2-[F- 18]fluoroethyl)(methyl)amino]-2-naphthyl}ethylidene)malononitrile ([F-18]FDDNP) in combination with positron emission tomography (PET) to produce dynamic images for quantification of regional cortical brain deposition in MCI patients and compare them with controls subjects and patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Comparison with other molecular imaging probes for neuronal losses and function were also made.


Patients are positioned supine in the tomograph bed with his/her head in the detector ring field. Upon injection of the molecular imaging probe (e.g., [F-18]FDDNP) images are obtained at very short time intervals for up to two hours. This results in dynamic sequences of brain distribution of the probe.


Patients with clinical diagnosis of AD, MCI and control subjects.


Subjects in the categories established above were scanned with [F-18]FDDNP-PET and quantification performed using Logan parametric graphical analysis to measure relative quantitative amyloid loads throughout the brain within patient groups. These results were compared in the same patients with cell losses in hippocampus using 4-[F-18]fluoro-N-{2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)- 1-piperazinyl]ethyl}-N-(2-pyridinyl)benzamide,([F-18]MPPF) and regional cerebral glucose metabolic rates using 2-deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-[F-18]FDG).


[F-18]FDDNP reliably follows neuropathological progression (amyloid plaques [SP]; neurofibrillary tangles [NFT]) in the living brain of AD patients and those with MCI. The distribution of [F-18]FDDNP brain cortical accumulation correlates well with behavioral measures (e.g., MMSE scores) and follows known patterns of pathological distribution observed at autopsy. We have also established conversion of controls to MCI and MCI to AD with precision and sensitivity in patients and control subjects in follow-up studies. Moreover, we have established that hemispheric cortical surface mapping of [F-18]FDDNP binding is a powerful tool for assessment and visualization of the rate of brain pathology deposition. A strong correlation of [F-18]FDDNP binding, cell losses in hippocampus and decreased glucose utilization ([F-18]FDG PET) in several neocortical regions was found in the same AD and MCI subjects.


The combined evaluation of [F-18]FDDNP PET (targeting NFT and_SP) with neuronal losses in the hippocampus and with [F-18]FDG PET (targeting neuronal function) offers the opportunity for reliable, noninvasive detection of MCI patients at risk for AD. The approach offers a glimpse to the molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with dementia and provides a means for their assessment in the living patient. Monitoring disease progression in MCI patients demonstrates the usefulness of this imaging approach for early diagnosis and provides a means for evaluation of neuroprotective agents and drugs aimed at prevention and modification of disease progression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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