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Neuroimaging of Alzheimer’s disease: focus on amyloid and tau PET

  • Hiroshi MatsudaEmail author
  • Yoko Shigemoto
  • Noriko Sato
Invited Review

Abstract

Although the diagnosis of dementia is still largely a clinical one, based on history and disease course, neuroimaging has dramatically increased our ability to accurately diagnose it. Neuroimaging modalities now play a wider role in dementia beyond their traditional role of excluding neurosurgical lesions and are recommended in most clinical guidelines for dementia. In addition, new neuroimaging methods facilitate the diagnosis of most neurodegenerative conditions after symptom onset and show diagnostic promise even in the very early or presymptomatic phases of some diseases. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates and intracellular tau neurofibrillary tangles are the two neuropathological hallmarks of the disease. Recent molecular imaging techniques using amyloid and tau PET ligands have led to preclinical diagnosis and improved differential diagnosis as well as narrowed subject selection and treatment monitoring in clinical trials aimed at delaying or preventing the symptomatic phase of AD. This review discusses the recent progress in amyloid and tau PET imaging and the key findings achieved by the use of this molecular imaging modality related to the respective roles of Aβ and tau in AD, as well as its specific limitations.

Keywords

Dementia Alzheimer’s disease PET Amyloid Tau 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by the Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS) project (Grant no. 18dm0207017h0005) from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose with respect to this article.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Japan Radiological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative Brain Imaging CenterNational Center of Neurology and PsychiatryKodairaJapan
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyNational Center of Neurology and PsychiatryKodairaJapan

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