Monday, February 6, 2012

Agent Lights Up Alzheimer's Tangles

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By MedPage Today Staff2

Lighting Up the Tangles

Several contrast agents are in development for imaging beta-amyloid plaques in patients with incipient Alzheimer's disease, but what about the disorder's other major pathology, neurofibrillary tangles? Nothing suitable has yet come along for measuring these abnormalities in live patients.

That may now be changing, thanks to efforts by Masahiro Ono, PhD, and colleagues at Japan's Kyoto University. In ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, they say they have identified a new agent that binds both to beta-amyloid plaques and to neurofibratory tangles made of rogue tau proteins.

Studies in mice showed that the compound, based on fluorine-18, is stable enough in vivo to serve as a useful contrast agent. And, when applied to brain sections from deceased Alzheimer's disease patients, tangles as well as plaques lit up brightly in PET and SPECT scans.

-- J.G.

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