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PET imaging of brain amyloid in dementia: a review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sean Colloby, Professor John O'Brien


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Objective: To review the rapidly expanding literature of amyloid PET imaging with particular attention to Pittsburgh compound-B (PIB) in Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and cognitively normal volunteers. Design: Literature searches were performed using Medline up to February 2010. Individual articles were then examined for additional references not revealed by automated searches. This yielded 79 articles whose abstracts were read by the authors to select key papers. Results: Amyloid deposition assessed using PIB-PET is significantly elevated in AD and DLB compared to controls and those with FTD. In MCI, uptake is often intermediate between AD and normal ageing, and excessive amyloid burden in non-demented individuals with MCI are likely to represent high-risk cases. Amyloid deposition appears to be an early event, and as dementia progresses clinical decline seems to be more associated with neurodegeneration than amyloid burden. Conclusions: PIB-PET imaging is a sensitive and specific marker for underlying A beta amyloid deposition and represents an important investigative tool for examining the relationship between amyloid burden, clinical symptoms and structural and functional changes in dementia. Amyloid imaging may also be useful for selecting patients for anti-amyloid therapies. However, studies have identified PIB-positive cases in otherwise healthy older individuals (10-30%), limiting diagnostic specificity. Development of biomarkers for investigating other aspects of dementia pathology, i.e. soluble A beta, tau, synuclein and brain inflammation would further inform our understanding and assist in studying disease-modifying and preventive treatments in dementia. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Quigley H, Colloby SJ, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2011

Volume: 26

Issue: 10

Pages: 991-999

Print publication date: 28/12/2010

ISSN (print): 0885-6230

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1166



DOI: 10.1002/gps.2640