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J Mov Disord. 2018 Jan;11(1):1-12. doi: 10.14802/jmd.17071. Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Tau Positron Emission Tomography Imaging in Degenerative Parkinsonisms.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
3
Division of RI-Convergence Research, Korea Institute Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

In recent years, several radiotracers that selectively bind to pathological tau proteins have been developed. Evidence is emerging that binding patterns of in vivo tau positron emission tomography (PET) studies in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients closely resemble the distribution patterns of known neurofibrillary tangle pathology, with the extent of tracer binding reflecting the clinical and pathological progression of AD. In Lewy body diseases (LBD), tau PET imaging has clearly revealed cortical tau burden with a distribution pattern distinct from AD and increased cortical binding within the LBD spectrum. In progressive supranuclear palsy, the globus pallidus and midbrain have shown increased binding most prominently. Tau PET patterns in patients with corticobasal syndrome are characterized by asymmetrical uptake in the motor cortex and underlying white matter, as well as in the basal ganglia. Even in the patients with multiple system atrophy, which is basically a synucleinopathy, 18F-flortaucipir, a widely used tau PET tracer, also binds to the atrophic posterior putamen, possibly due to off-target binding. These distinct patterns of tau-selective radiotracer binding in the various degenerative parkinsonisms suggest its utility as a potential imaging biomarker for the differential diagnosis of parkinsonisms.

KEYWORDS:

Tau; parkinsonism; positron emission tomography

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