Article

Brain imaging in Alzheimer disease.

Departments of Radiology and Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114.
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine (Impact Factor: 7.56). 04/2012; 2(4):a006213. DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a006213
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Imaging has played a variety of roles in the study of Alzheimer disease (AD) over the past four decades. Initially, computed tomography (CT) and then magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used diagnostically to rule out other causes of dementia. More recently, a variety of imaging modalities including structural and functional MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) studies of cerebral metabolism with fluoro-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG) and amyloid tracers such as Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) have shown characteristic changes in the brains of patients with AD, and in prodromal and even presymptomatic states that can help rule-in the AD pathophysiological process. No one imaging modality can serve all purposes as each have unique strengths and weaknesses. These modalities and their particular utilities are discussed in this article. The challenge for the future will be to combine imaging biomarkers to most efficiently facilitate diagnosis, disease staging, and, most importantly, development of effective disease-modifying therapies.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
147 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Amylin, a gut-brain axis hormone, and amyloid-beta peptides (Aβ), a major component of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, share several features, including similar β-sheet secondary structures, binding to the same receptor and being degraded by the same protease, insulin degrading enzyme (IDE). However, while amylin readily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) and mediates several activities including improving glucose metabolism, relaxing cerebrovascular structure, modulating inflammatory reaction and perhaps enhancing neural regeneration, Aβ has no known physiological functions. Thus, abundant Aβ in the AD brain could block or interfere with the binding of amylin to its receptor and hinder its functions. Recent studies using animal models for AD demonstrate that amylin and its analog reduce the AD pathology in the brain and improve cognitive impairment in AD. Given that, in addition to amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, perturbed cerebral glucose metabolism and cerebrovascular damage are the hallmarks of the AD brain, we propose that giving exogenous amylin type peptides have the potential to become a new avenue for the diagnosis and therapeutic of AD. Although amylin's property of self-aggregation may be a limitation to developing it as a therapeutic for AD, its clinical analog, pramlintide containing 3 amino acid differences from amylin, does not aggregate like human amylin, but more potently mediates amylin's activities in the brain. Pramlintide is an effective drug for diabetes with a favorable profile of safety. Thus a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial should be conducted to examine the efficacy of pramlintide for AD. This review summarizes the knowledge and findings on amylin type peptides and discuss pros and cons for their potential for AD.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 07/2014; 6:186. · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Comprising 10(11) neurons with 10(14) synaptic connections the human brain is the ultimate systems biology puzzle. An increasing body of evidence highlights the observation that changes in brain function, both normal and pathological, consistently correlate with dynamic changes in neuronal anatomy. Anatomical changes occur on a full range of scales from the trafficking of individual proteins, to alterations in synaptic morphology both individually and on a systems level, to reductions in long distance connectivity and brain volume. The major sites of contact for synapsing neurons are dendritic spines, which provide an excellent metric for the number and strength of signaling connections between elements of functional neuronal circuits. A comprehensive model of anatomical changes and their functional consequences would be a holy grail for the field of systems neuroscience but its realization appears far on the horizon. Various imaging technologies have advanced to allow for multi-scale visualization of brain plasticity and pathology, but computational analysis of the big data sets involved forms the bottleneck toward the creation of multiscale models of brain structure and function. While a full accounting of techniques and progress toward a comprehensive model of brain anatomy and function is beyond the scope of this or any other single paper, this review serves to highlight the opportunities for analysis of neuronal spine anatomy and function provided by new imaging technologies and the high-throughput application of older technologies while surveying the strengths and weaknesses of currently available computational analytical tools and room for future improvement.
    Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 11/2014; 8:130. · 4.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Impairment of brain functional connectivity (FC) is thought to be an early event occurring in diseases with cerebral amyloidosis, such as Alzheimer's disease. Regions sustaining altered functional networks have been shown to colocalize with regions marked with amyloid plaques burden suggesting a strong link between FC and amyloidosis. Whether the decline in FC precedes amyloid plaque deposition or is a consequence thereof is currently unknown. The sequence of events during early stages of the disease is difficult to capture in humans due to the difficulties in providing an early diagnosis and also in view of the heterogeneity among patients. Transgenic mouse lines overexpressing amyloid precursor proteins develop cerebral amyloidosis and constitute an attractive model system for studying the relationship between plaque and functional changes. In this study, ArcAβ transgenic and wild-type mice were imaged using resting-state fMRI methods across their life-span in a cross-sectional design to analyze changes in FC in relation to the pathology. Transgenic mice show compromised development of FC during the first months of postnatal life compared with wild-type animals, resulting in functional impairments that affect in particular the sensory-motor cortex already in preplaque stage. These functional alterations were accompanied by structural changes as reflected by reduced fractional anisotropy values, as derived from diffusion tensor imaging. Our results suggest cerebral amyloidosis in mice is preceded by impairment of neuronal networks and white matter structures. FC analysis in mice is an attractive tool for studying the implications of impaired neuronal networks in models of cerebral amyloid pathology.
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 10/2014; 34(41):13780-9.

Preview

Download
0 Downloads
Available from