Brain [52FE]-Transferrin Uptake in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Subjects: A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Study

  • Angelo Antonini
  • Albert Wettstein
  • Regula Schmid
  • Klaus L. Leenders
Part of the GWUMC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Spring Symposia book series (GWUN)


Alteration of cerebral iron metabolism is involved in several neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is still difficult to understand whether changes in cerebral iron levels are primarily related to the pathological process or secondary to the disease state. Transferrin (Tf) is the major iron carrier protein in plasma. The transport of iron into brain involves the binding of the iron-Tf complexes to high affinity Tf receptors (TfR) which are located in the brain capillary membranes of the blood brain barrier (BBB). The complex Tf-TfR is then internalized into cells where the iron is released. Other metals like aluminium or manganese also bind to transferrin and may be transported into brain in a similar manner as iron. Neuropathological studies using [125I]-transferrin have shown increased binding in cerebral microvessels in AD patients compared to age matched healthy controls [1]. We have shown previously that blood to brain iron uptake can be measured using the tracer [52Fe]-citrate and positron emission tomography (PET) [2–3]. [52Fe] is a positron emitter which rapidly and almost completely binds to plasma Tf after intravenous injection.


Positron Emission Tomography Brain Iron Neurofibrillary Degeneration Cerebral Microvessels Citrate Uptake 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelo Antonini
    • 1
  • Albert Wettstein
    • 2
  • Regula Schmid
    • 2
  • Klaus L. Leenders
    • 1
  1. 1.Paul Scherrer InstituteVilligenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Stadtärztlicher DienstZurichSwitzerland

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