King's College London
Imaging copper trafficking in Alzheimers disease with PET: potential clinical applications
Alzheimer's Research UK
Growing evidence suggests that a dysregulation of copper (Cu) metabolism occurs in the brains of those with Alzheimers disease (AD) and that this dysregulation is a crucial driver of neurodegeneration1. We will use positron emission tomography (PET) to follow radioactive copper (64Cu) in the brain, observing how fast our injected 64Cu radiopharmaceutical enters and exits the brain, and where it accumulates. We will investigate this 64Cu trafficking in an AD mouse model that develops brain plaques and later compare it to age-matched normals. We suspect the brain handles Cu differently in AD patients and this abnormal Cu metabolism may occur before memory deficits arise. In addition to PET, we will use X-rays to see where and how much native copper exists in the same brain tissue that we image with PET. The biodistribution of both 64Cu (observed with PET) and native (observed with X-rays) will be matched with standard measures of AD pathology (plaque deposition and memory scores). This study will indicate whether PET imaging of 64Cu can be used to detect early changes in AD before symptoms become apparent. If successful, this method has potential for immediate clinical translation since our 64Cu radiopharmaceuticals have already been used in man.