Objective To study the in vivo binding properties of 18 F-AV-1451 (tau-PET) and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB-PET) in a unique kindred with a familial prion disorder known to produce amyloid plaques composed of prion protein alongside Alzheimer disease (AD)-like tau tangles. Methods A case series of 4 symptomatic family members with the 12-octapeptide repeat insertion in the PRNP gene were imaged with 3T MRI, PiB-PET, and tau-PET in their fourth decade of life. Results There was significant neocortical uptake of the tau-PET tracer in all 4 familial prion cases. However, PiB-PET images did not demonstrate abnormally elevated signal in neocortical or cerebellar regions for any of the patients. Conclusions In vivo detection of molecular hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases will be a prerequisite to well-conducted therapeutic trials. Understanding the in vivo behavior of these PET biomarkers in the setting of various neurodegenerative processes is imperative to their proper use in such trials and for research studies focused on the basic neurobiology of neurodegeneration. This study supports the high specificity of neocortical 18 F-AV-1451 binding to AD-like tau and the lack of PiB binding to PrP plaques. It is uncertain how early in the disease course tau pathology appears in the brains of individuals who carry this PRNP gene mutation or how it evolves throughout the disease course, but future longitudinal 18 F-AV-1451 imaging of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals in this kindred will help address these uncertainties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology