Amyloid plaque imaging in vivo: current achievement and future prospects




Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a very complex neurodegenerative disorder, the exact cause of which is still not known. The major histopathological features, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, already described by Alois Alzheimer, have been the focus in research for decades. Despite a probable whole cascade of events in the brain leading to impairment of cognition, amyloid is still the target for diagnosis and treatment.


The rapid development of molecular imaging techniques now allows imaging of amyloid plaques in vivo in Alzheimer patients by PET amyloid ligands such as Pittsburgh compound B (PIB). Studies so far have revealed high 11C-PIB retention in brain at prodromal stages of AD and a possibility to discriminate AD from other dementia disorders by 11C-PIB. Ongoing studies are focussing to understand the relationship between brain and CSF amyloid processes and cognitive processes.


In vivo imaging of amyloid will be important for early diagnosis and evaluation of new anti-amyloid therapies in AD.


Positron emission tomography (PET) Amyloid PIB Alzheimer’s disease Diagnostic marker 



The financial support of the Swedish Research Council (project no 05817), Stohnes foundation, Foundation of Old Servants, KI foundations, The Alzheimer foundation in Sweden, Swedish Brain Power, and the EC-FP5-project NCI-MCI, QLK6-CT-2000-00502 is gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest statement

There are no conflicts of interest for the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Alzheimer NeurobiologyKarolinska University Hospital HuddingeStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Geriatric MedicineKarolinska University Hospital HuddingeStockholmSweden

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