In vivo changes in microglial activation and amyloid deposits in brain regions with hypometabolism in Alzheimer’s disease

  • Masamichi Yokokura
  • Norio Mori
  • Shunsuke Yagi
  • Etsuji Yoshikawa
  • Mitsuru Kikuchi
  • Yujiro Yoshihara
  • Tomoyasu Wakuda
  • Genichi Sugihara
  • Kiyokazu Takebayashi
  • Shiro Suda
  • Yasuhide Iwata
  • Takatoshi Ueki
  • Kenji J. Tsuchiya
  • Katsuaki Suzuki
  • Kazuhiko Nakamura
  • Yasuomi OuchiEmail author
Original Article



Amyloid β protein (Aβ) is known as a pathological substance in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is assumed to coexist with a degree of activated microglia in the brain. However, it remains unclear whether these two events occur in parallel with characteristic hypometabolism in AD in vivo. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the in vivo relationship between Aβ accumulation and neuroinflammation in those specific brain regions in early AD.


Eleven nootropic drug-naïve AD patients underwent a series of positron emission tomography (PET) measurements with [11C](R)PK11195, [11C]PIB and [18F]FDG and a battery of cognitive tests within the same day. The binding potentials (BPs) of [11C](R)PK11195 were directly compared with those of [11C]PIB in the brain regions with reduced glucose metabolism.


BPs of [11C](R)PK11195 and [11C]PIB were significantly higher in the parietotemporal regions of AD patients than in ten healthy controls. In AD patients, there was a negative correlation between dementia score and [11C](R)PK11195 BPs, but not [11C]PIB, in the limbic, precuneus and prefrontal regions. Direct comparisons showed a significant negative correlation between [11C](R)PK11195 and [11C]PIB BPs in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) (p < 0.05, corrected) that manifested the most severe reduction in [18F]FDG uptake.


A lack of coupling between microglial activation and amyloid deposits may indicate that Aβ accumulation shown by [11C]PIB is not always the primary cause of microglial activation, but rather the negative correlation present in the PCC suggests that microglia can show higher activation during the production of Aβ in early AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Microglia Amyloid β protein Positron emission tomography 



We would like to thank Dr. Mitsuo Kaneko (Kaneko Clinic), Dr. Masanobu Sakamoto and Messrs. Toshihiko Kanno and Yasuo Tanizaki (Hamamatsu Medical Center), Yutaka Naito (Japan Environment Research Corporation), Masami Futatsubashi, Akihito Oda and Ms. Tomomi Shinke (Hamamatsu Photonics KK) for their support. This work was supported by Research Grants from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and NEDO and the Takeda Science Foundation.

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

259_2010_1612_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 Results of SPM analysis (DOC 61 kb)
259_2010_1612_MOESM2_ESM.doc (66 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 Pearson correlation analyses in the AD group (DOC 65 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masamichi Yokokura
    • 1
  • Norio Mori
    • 1
  • Shunsuke Yagi
    • 2
  • Etsuji Yoshikawa
    • 3
  • Mitsuru Kikuchi
    • 4
  • Yujiro Yoshihara
    • 1
  • Tomoyasu Wakuda
    • 1
  • Genichi Sugihara
    • 5
  • Kiyokazu Takebayashi
    • 1
  • Shiro Suda
    • 5
  • Yasuhide Iwata
    • 1
  • Takatoshi Ueki
    • 6
  • Kenji J. Tsuchiya
    • 5
  • Katsuaki Suzuki
    • 5
  • Kazuhiko Nakamura
    • 1
  • Yasuomi Ouchi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and NeurologyHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Human Imaging Research, Molecular Imaging Frontier Research CenterHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  3. 3.Central Research LaboratoryHamamatsu Photonics K.K.HamamatsuJapan
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical ScienceKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  5. 5.Research Center for Child Mental DevelopmentHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan
  6. 6.Department of AnatomyHamamatsu University School of MedicineHamamatsuJapan

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