STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 25 -- A compound used with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging may enable researchers to detect amyloid plaques in the brains of individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Using microscopic "multiphoton" imaging technology and transgenic mice -- mice genetically engineered to develop amyloid plaques similar to those in Alzheimer's disease -- researchers found that the compound 6-OH-BTA-1 distinguishes individual amyloid plaques in the brain of a living animal model of Alzheimer's disease. The method holds promise for use in studying individuals with Alzheimer's disease, the researchers say.
Scientists previously could view amyloid plaques -- one of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's -- only during an autopsy.
The research team is made up of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Uppsala University PET Center, and Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The Alzheimer's Association and National Institute on Aging provided grant support for the research, conducted at University of Pittsburgh.