Journal article Open Access

In vivo PET imaging of beta-amyloid deposition in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease with a high specific activity PET imaging agent [18F]flutemetamol

Snellman, Anniina; Rokka, Johanna; Lopez-Picon, Francisco R; Eskola, Olli; Salmona, Mario; Forloni, Gianluigi; Scheinin, Mika; Solin, Olof; Rinne, Juha O; Haaparanta-Solin, Merja

Background: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the applicability of 18F-labelled amyloid imaging positron emission tomography (PET) agent [18F]flutemetamol to detect changes in brain beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition in vivo in APP23, Tg2576 and APPswe-PS1dE9 mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. We expected that the high specific activity of [18F]flutemetamol would make it an attractive small animal Aβ imaging agent.

Methods: [18F]flutemetamol uptake in the mouse brain was evaluated in vivo at 9 to 22 months of age with an Inveon Multimodality PET/CT camera (Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Knoxville, TN, USA). Retention in the frontal cortex (FC) was evaluated by Logan distribution volume ratios (DVR) and FC/cerebellum (CB) ratios during the late washout phase (50 to 60 min). [18F]flutemetamol binding to Aβ was also evaluated in brain slices by in vitro and ex vivo autoradiography. The amount of Aβ in the brain slices was determined with Thioflavin S and anti-Aβ1−40 immunohistochemistry.

Results: In APP23 mice, [18F]flutemetamol retention in the FC increased from 9 to 18 months. In younger mice, DVR and FC/CB50-60 were 0.88 (0.81) and 0.88 (0.89) at 9 months (N = 2), and 0.98 (0.93) at 12 months (N = 1), respectively. In older mice, DVR and FC/CB50-60 were 1.16 (1.15) at 15 months (N = 1), 1.13 (1.16) and 1.35 (1.35) at 18 months (N = 2), and 1.05 (1.31) at 21 months (N = 1). In Tg2576 mice, DVR and FC/CB50-60 showed modest increasing trends but also high variability. In APPswe-PS1dE9 mice, DVR and FC/CB50-60 did not increase with age. Thioflavin S and anti-Aβ1−40 positive Aβ deposits were present in all transgenic mice at 19 to 22 months, and they co-localized with [18F]flutemetamol binding in the brain slices examined with in vitro and ex vivo autoradiography.

Conclusions: Increased [18F]flutemetamol retention in the brain was detected in old APP23mice in vivo. However, the high specific activity of [18F]flutemetamol did not provide a notable advantage in Tg2576 and APPswe-PS1dE9 mice compared to the previously evaluated structural analogue [11C]PIB. For its practical benefits, [18F]flutemetamol imaging with a suitable mouse model like APP23 is an attractive alternative.

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