PET Scan with Pittsburgh Compound B Detects β-Amyloid

Test shows promise in diagnosing Alzheimer disease and monitoring anti-β-amyloid treatments

TUESDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Imaging of the brain with Pittsburgh Compound B can successfully detect β-amyloid in living patients with Alzheimer disease, according to a case study published in the March issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Brian J. Bacskai, Ph.D., of MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Charlestown, Mass., and colleagues report the case of a 76-year-old man diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. He underwent positron emission tomographic (PET) brain scans, which revealed marked region-specific binding with Pittsburgh Compound B and abnormal uptake of fluorodeoxyglucose 18F. An autopsy performed three months later confirmed the clinical diagnosis.

"In addition, there were severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy and only moderate numbers of parenchymal β-amyloid plaques. Biochemical measures revealed a positive correlation between β-amyloid levels and regional Pittsburgh Compound B binding," the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, David M. Holtzman, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, comments that the case study provides further validation of Pittsburgh Compound B imaging for visualization of Alzheimer disease without recourse to autopsy or brain biopsy.

"This is an important case report, as for the first time it documents correspondence between cortical Pittsburgh Compound B retention and amyloid deposition in a human," he writes.

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