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Neuroimage. 2010 Aug 15;52(2):488-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.04.013. Epub 2010 Apr 10.

Voxel-based analysis of Alzheimer's disease PET imaging using a triplet of radiotracers: PIB, FDDNP, and FDG.

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Neuroscience Research Institute, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, 1197 Guwol-dong, Namdong-gu, Incheon 405-760, Republic of Korea.


Beta amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and impaired glucose metabolism are among the most prevalent pathological characteristics of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, separate visualization of these three AD-related pathologies in living humans has not been conducted. Here, we show that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using the three radiotracers (11)C-Pittsburgh compound B (PIB), 2-(1-{6-[(2-(18)F-fluoroethyl)(methyl)amino]-2-naphthyl}ethylidene) malononitrile (FDDNP), and 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG), in the same subjects, with and without AD, can provide valuable information on the pathological patterns of the distribution of tracers for amyloid plaque, neurofibrillary tangle, and glucose hypometabolism in AD. Voxel-based analysis of PIB-PET in patients with AD compared with normal control subjects showed that patients with AD have highly significant PIB retention in brain regions known to have high amyloid plaque deposition (e.g., frontal, parietal, temporal, and posterior cingulate/precuneus cortices). In contrast, voxel-based analysis of FDDNP-PET showed significantly high FDDNP binding in some brain regions known to have high tangle accumulation in patients with AD compared with age-matched normal subjects (e.g., entorhinal cortex, inferior temporal gyrus, and secondary visual cortex). In addition, because FDDNP binds both plaques and tangles but PIB binds plaques specifically, we examined subtracted PET data (FDDNP minus PIB) acquired from the same patients with AD using an SPM analysis. We found that the hippocampal formation was the most significant brain region in the voxel mapping of FDDNP minus PIB in the same patients with AD. Voxel-based analysis of FDG-PET in the same subjects revealed that brain regions with glucose hypometabolism in patients with AD overlap with regions of high PIB binding. In conclusion, PET imaging using these three radiotracers in the same subjects may contribute toward developing and testing disease-modifying drugs targeting amyloid pathology, tau pathology, and/or energy metabolism.

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