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J Nucl Med. 2019 Dec 5. pii: jnumed.119.237198. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.119.237198. [Epub ahead of print]

Imaging P-glycoprotein Induction at the Blood-Brain Barrier of a Beta-Amyloidosis Mouse Model with 11C-Metoclopramide PET.

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AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Austria.
University of Oslo, Norway.
CEA-SHFJ, France.
Medical University of Vienna, Austria.


P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) plays an important role at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in promoting the clearance of neurotoxic beta-amyloid (Aß) peptides from the brain into the blood. ABCB1 expression and activity were found to be decreased in the brains of Alzheimer disease (AD) patients. Treatment with drugs which induce cerebral ABCB1 activity may be a promising approach to delay the build-up of Aß deposits in the brain by enhancing the clearance of Aß peptides from the brain. The aim of this study was to investigate whether PET with the weak ABCB1 substrate radiotracer 11C-metoclopramide can measure ABCB1 induction at the BBB in a beta-amyloidosis mouse model (APP/PS1-21 mice) and in wild-type mice. Methods: Groups of wild-type and APP/PS1-21 mice aged 50 or 170 days underwent 11C-metoclopramide baseline PET scans or scans after intraperitoneal treatment with the rodent pregnane X receptor (PXR) activator 5-pregnen-3β-ol-20-one-16α-carbonitrile (PCN, 25 mg/kg) or its vehicle over 7 days. At the end of the PET scans, brains were harvested for immunohistochemical analysis of ABCB1 and Aß levels. In separate groups of mice, radiolabeled metabolites of 11C-metoclopramide were determined in plasma and brain at 15 min after radiotracer injection. As an outcome parameter of cerebral ABCB1 activity, the elimination slope of radioactivity washout from the brain (kE,brain) was calculated. Results: PCN treatment resulted in an increased clearance of radioactivity from the brain as reflected by significant increases in kE,brain (from +26% to +54% relative to baseline). Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed ABCB1 induction in the brains of PCN-treated APP/PS1-21 mice with a concomitant decrease in Aß levels. There was a significant positive correlation between kE,brain values and ABCB1 levels in the brain. In wild-type mice, a significant age-related decrease in kE,brain values was found. Metabolite analysis showed that the majority of radioactivity in the brain was composed of unmetabolized 11C-metoclopramide in all animal groups. Conclusion: 11C-metoclopramide can measure ABCB1 induction in the mouse brain without the need to consider an arterial input function and may find potential application in AD patients to non-invasively evaluate strategies to enhance the clearance properties of the BBB.


11C-metoclopramide; APP/PS1-21 mice; Alzheimer disease; Animal Imaging; Neurology; P-glycoprotein induction; PET; beta-amyloid clearance


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