Bradley T. Christian, PhD

Slide of the Week: Bradley T. Christian, PhD

Legend: Left panel: General patterns of [11C]PiB binding in participants with Down syndrome (DS). PiB binds to amyloid-β plaques, a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The top row shows nonspecific white matter binding. The middle row shows elevated PiB binding only in the striatum (pointed out by the arrows), which is unique to the DS population and autosomal dominant AD. The bottom row shows elevated PiB binding in the striatum and cortical areas, which is typical of AD.

Right panel: The standard uptake value ratio (SUVR) plotted against age for commonly affected ROIs. Within each column, the age ranges from 30 (left) to 53 (right) years. Note the increasing SUVR with increasing age in each ROI.

Lao PJ, Betthauser TJ, Hillmer AT, Price JC, Klunk WE, Mihaila I, Higgins AT, Bulova PD, Hartley SL, Hardison R, Tumuluru RV, Murali D, Mathis CA, Cohen AD, Barnhart TE, Devenny DA, Mailick MR, Johnson SC, Handen BL, Christian BT. (2015) The effects of normal aging on amyloid-β deposition in nondemented adults with Down syndrome as imaged by carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh compound B. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2015; 1(11). In press.

Abstract: Down syndrome (DS) results from a triplication of chromosome 21. On chromosome 21 is the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) – a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 68 participants with DS underwent a [11C]PiB PET scan to detect the presence of amyloid-β plaques before the onset of dementia. The amount of amyloid-β plaques was found to increase with age, and elevated PiB binding was observed as young as 36 years old in this DS population. Further work will investigate the relationship between amyloid-β plaques and episodic memory.

About the investigator: Christian’s research focuses on the use of positron emission tomography (PET) to interrogate molecular pathways involved in various brain processes. [11C]PiB imaging is used to detect amyloid-β plaques in elderly participants with and without Alzheimer’s disease, as well as young adults with Down syndrome. A variety of radiolabelled tracers such as [18F]THK5351, [18F]nifene, [18F]mefway, [11C]PBR28, and [11C]clozapine are also used to understand tauopathies, addiction, and neuroinflammation.

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