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Brain. 2007 Oct;130(Pt 10):2607-15. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

PIB is a non-specific imaging marker of amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide-related cerebral amyloidosis.

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GlaxoSmithKline, Clinical Science & Technology, CPDM and NGI-CEDD, NFSP North, Third Avenue, Harlow, Essex, CM19 5AW, UK.


The in vivo imaging probe [11C]-PIB (Pittsburgh Compound B, N-methyl[11C]2-(4'-methylaminophenyl-6-hydroxybenzathiazole) is under evaluation as a key imaging tool in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to date has been assumed to bind with high affinity and specificity to the amyloid structures associated with classical plaques (CPs), one of the pathological hallmarks of the disease. However, no studies have systematically investigated PIB binding to human neuropathological brain specimens at the tracer concentrations achieved during in vivo imaging scans. Using a combination of autoradiography and histochemical techniques, we demonstrate that PIB, in addition to binding CPs clearly delineates diffuse plaques and cerebrovascular amyloid angiopathy (CAA). The interaction of PIB with CAA was not fully displaceable and this may be linked to the apolipoprotein E-epsilon4 allele. PIB was also found to label neurofibrillary tangles, although the overall intensity of this binding was markedly lower than that associated with the amyloid-beta (Abeta) pathology. The data provide a molecular explanation for PIB's limited specificity in diagnosing and monitoring disease progression in AD and instead indicate that the ligand is primarily a non-specific marker of Abeta-peptide related cerebral amyloidosis.

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