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Neuron. 2013 Sep 18;79(6):1094-108. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.07.037.

Imaging of tau pathology in a tauopathy mouse model and in Alzheimer patients compared to normal controls.

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Molecular Imaging Center, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba, Chiba 263-8555, Japan.


Accumulation of intracellular tau fibrils has been the focus of research on the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies. Here, we have developed a class of tau ligands, phenyl/pyridinyl-butadienyl-benzothiazoles/benzothiazoliums (PBBs), for visualizing diverse tau inclusions in brains of living patients with AD or non-AD tauopathies and animal models of these disorders. In vivo optical and positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging of a transgenic mouse model demonstrated sensitive detection of tau inclusions by PBBs. A pyridinated PBB, [(11)C]PBB3, was next applied in a clinical PET study, and its robust signal in the AD hippocampus wherein tau pathology is enriched contrasted strikingly with that of a senile plaque radioligand, [(11)C]Pittsburgh Compound-B ([(11)C]PIB). [(11)C]PBB3-PET data were also consistent with the spreading of tau pathology with AD progression. Furthermore, increased [(11)C]PBB3 signals were found in a corticobasal syndrome patient negative for [(11)C]PIB-PET.

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