This study will use positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to measure a receptor in the
brain that is involved in inflammation. Certain neurological disorders, possibly including
frontotemporal dementia (FTD), are associated with increased inflammation in the brain. This
study may help elucidate the relationship between FTD and inflammation.
Patients with FTD and healthy volunteers who are 35 years of age or older may be eligible for
this study. Candidates are screened with a medical history, physical examination,
electrocardiogram, and blood and urine tests.
Participants undergo the following procedures:
- Whole body PET scan: PET uses small amounts of a radioactive chemical called a tracer
that labels active areas of the brain so the activity can be seen with a special camera.
The tracer used in this study is [11C]PBR28. Before starting the scan, a catheter
(plastic tube) is placed in a vein in the arm to inject the tracer. Pictures are taken
for 1 hour. This short scan is done to determine if [11C]PBR28 binds to the subject s
receptors, since a number of people do not have binding. Subjects who have binding
continue with brain PET and MRI scans, described below.
- Brain PET imaging: Before starting the scan, a catheter is placed in a vein in the arm
to inject the tracer,<TAB> and another catheter is placed in an artery in the wrist to
obtain blood samples during the scan. The subject lies on the scanner bed. A special
mask is fitted to the head and attached to the bed to help keep the person s head still
during the scan so the images will be clear. An 8-minute transmission scan is done just
before the tracer is injected to provide measures of the brain that are helpful in
calculating information from subsequent scans. After the tracer is injected, pictures
are taken for about 2.5 hours, while the subject lies still on the scanner bed.
- Blood and urine tests are done the day of and the day following each PET scan.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI scan is done within 1 year (before or after) of
the PET scan. This procedure uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of
the brain. The subject lies on a table that is moved into the scanner (a tube-like
device), wearing earplugs to muffle the noise of the machine during the scanning
process. The test takes about 1 hour.
Abnormal immune responses and inflammatory mechanisms have been implicated in the
pathogenesis of certain neurodegenerative diseases. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a
neurodegenerative disease characterized by focal atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes.
Evidence supports the presence of inflammation in FTD; however, the relationship between
inflammation and FTD pathogenesis is poorly understood. In addition, there is evidence of
inflammation in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition characterized by seizures
originating from the mesial temporal lobe.
In response to brain inflammation, microglia are activated and over-express the peripheral
benzodiazepine receptor (PBR). In normal conditions, PBR is expressed in low numbers.
Measuring PBR density can identify areas of brain inflammation, because activated microglial
cells in these areas express more PBR than microglial cells in resting conditions. Positron
emission tomography (PET) imaging can quantify PBR density in vivo using radioligands that
bind to PBR sites. One PBR-specific radioligand,
[11C]1-(2-chlorophenyl-N-methylpropyl)-3-isoquinoline carboxamide (PK11195), has been used to
identify areas of brain inflammation in patients with FTD. Unfortunately, [11C]PK11195 has
several limitations, such as low brain uptake and low specific signal. A recently developed
radioligand, [11C]N-acetyl-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-2-phenoxy-5-pyridinamine (PBR28), has higher
affinity than [11C]PK11195 for PBR. [11C]PBR28 has never been used to study inflammation in
To further study brain inflammation in dementia and TLE, we wish to include patients with
Alzheimer disease (AD) and TLE.
In this protocol, we wish to evaluate 20 patients with FTD, 50 100 patients with AD, 20
patients with TLE, and 30 55 healthy volunteers.
Subjects will undergo a dedicated brain PET with [11C]PBR28, as well as a brain MRI. In AD
patients and controls, 11C PBR28 PET and MRI will then be repeated after an interval of one
year but no more than 5 years.
Outcome measures will be the amount of 11C PBR28 binding in the brain in FTD patients, AD
patients, TLE patients and in healthy controls. We will quantify the radioligand s brain
uptake, washout, plasma clearance, and distribution volume using compartmental modeling.
Distribution volume is proportional to the density of receptors and is equal to the ratio at
equilibrium of uptake in brain to the concentration of parent radiotracer in plasma. 11C
PBR28 binding will also be compared between baseline and follow-up scans to determine the
change in binding related to evolution of AD pathology and that related to normal aging.
- INCLUSION CRITERIA:
- Patients with a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). FTD
patients with or without motor involvement may be included. FTD patients with either
the frontal variant (also known as the behavioral variant) or the language variant of
FTD may be included. AD and FTD patients must either meet capacity criteria to consent
to research, or be able to assign a surrogate decision-maker who is able to consent to
research on the subject s behalf.
- TLE patients must have clinically documented partial seizures with consistent EEG
evidence as defined by the 1981 International Classification of Epileptic Seizures,
refractory to standard antiepileptic treatment for at least one year. This criterion
will be established by preliminary screening in the NINDS Clinical Epilepsy Section
outpatient clinic, and if necessary, inpatient video-EEG monitoring.
- Healthy volunteers.
- Current psychiatric disease, substance abuse or severe systemic disease based on
history and physical exam.
- Laboratory tests with clinically significant abnormalities.
- Prior participation in other research protocols or clinical care in the last year such
that radiation exposure, including that from this protocol, would exceed the
guidelines set by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC).
- Pregnancy or breast feeding.
- Positive result on urine screen for illicit drugs.
- Subjects who cannot lie on their back for extended periods of time.
- History of neurological disease other than FTD or AD or TLE.
- TLE patients:
1. with a known treatable seizure etiology such as neoplastic or infectious disease
2. with an MRI finding consistent with a brain tumor, trauma or arterial-venous
3. with seizure activity within 24 hours prior to the study.
4. not capable of giving an informed consent.
- Presence of ferromagnetic metal in the body or heart pacemaker.