University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Plaque and Tangle PET Imaging in Mild Cognitive Impairment

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Grant Type



Background: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a transitional state between normal aging and dementia. Many people with MCI progress to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the ability to predict which persons with MCI develop AD is imprecise. Brain autopsy studies show that senile plaques (SPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), the neuropathological hallmarks of AD, occur in MCI. The FDDNP-PET imaging technique identifies SPs and NFTs in living persons with AD, thus, FDDNP-PET may be a tool for identifying MCI patients who will likely progress to AD. This project’s primary focus is to use FDDNP-PET to identify SPs and NFTs in persons with MCI, and then follow participants over 18 months to evaluate the ability of FDDNP-PET to predict progression of MCI or conversion to dementia. Specific Aims: (1) Determine whether FDDNP-PET patterns of SP and NFT accumulations differentiate persons with MCI from healthy controls (CTL) at baseline; (2) Determine whether and how the APOE-4 genetic risk for AD affects change in SP and NFT accumulation patterns measured by FDDNP-PET in MCI subjects over 18 months; (3) Determine whether FDDNP-PET binding patterns predict future cognitive decline or conversion to dementia, and brain metabolic decline (as measured by FDG-PET, a conventional imaging technique); (4) Compare the ability of FDDNP-PET and FDG-PET techniques to differentiate MCI form CTL groups; and (5) assess the effectiveness of the combination of FDDNP-PET and FDG-PET, compared to using either PET technique alone, in predicting the outcome of MCI.