Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Glial Activation and Glucose Metabolism in a Transgenic Amyloid Mouse Model: A Triple-Tracer PET Study

J Nucl Med. 2016 Jun;57(6):954-60

Authors/Editors: Matthias Brendel
Federico Probst
Anna Jaworska
Felix Overhoff
Viktoria Korzhova
Nathalie L. Albert
Roswitha Beck
Simon Lindner
Franz-Josef Gildehaus
Karlheinz Baumann
Peter Bartenstein
Gernot Kleinberger
Christian Haass
Jochen Herms
Axel Rominger
Publication Date: 2016
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Amyloid imaging by small-animal PET in models of Alzheimer disease (AD) offers the possibility to track amyloidogenesis and brain energy metabolism. Because microglial activation is thought to contribute to AD pathology, we undertook a triple-tracer small-animal PET study to assess microglial activation and glucose metabolism in association with amyloid plaque load in a transgenic AD mouse model.


Groups of PS2APP and C57BL/6 wild-type mice of various ages were examined by small-animal PET. We acquired 90-min dynamic emission data with (18)F-GE180 for imaging activated microglia (18-kD translocator protein ligand [TSPO]) and static 30- to 60-min recordings with (18)F-FDG for energy metabolism and (18)F-florbetaben for amyloidosis. Optimal fusion of PET data was obtained through automatic nonlinear spatial normalization, and SUVRs were calculated. For the novel TSPO tracer (18)F-GE180, we then calculated distribution volume ratios after establishing a suitable reference region. Immunohistochemical analyses with TSPO antisera, methoxy-X04 staining for fibrillary β-amyloid, and ex vivo autoradiography served as terminal gold standard assessments.


SUVR at 60-90 min after injection gave robust quantitation of (18)F-GE180, which correlated well with distribution volume ratios calculated from the entire recording and using a white matter reference region. Relative to age-matched wild-type, (18)F-GE180 SUVR was slightly elevated in PS2APP mice at 5 mo (+9%; P < 0.01) and distinctly increased at 16 mo (+25%; P < 0.001). Over this age range, there was a high positive correlation between small-animal PET findings of microglial activation with amyloid load (R = 0.85; P < 0.001) and likewise with metabolism (R = 0.61; P < 0.005). Immunohistochemical and autoradiographic findings confirmed the in vivo small-animal PET data.


In this first triple-tracer small-animal PET in a well-established AD mouse model, we found evidence for age-dependent microglial activation. This activation, correlating positively with the amyloid load, implies a relationship between amyloidosis and inflammation in the PS2APP AD mouse model.

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