We report a novel series of (11)C-labeled imidazo[2,1-b]benzothiazoles (IBTs) as tracers for imaging of cerebral ?-amyloid (A?) deposits in patients with Alzheimers disease (AD) by means of positron emission tomography (PET). From a series of 11 compounds, candidates were identified to have a high binding affinity for A?. Selected compounds were prepared as O- or N-[(11)C]methyl derivatives and shown to have a high initial brain uptake in wild-type mice (range 1.9-9.2% I.D./g at 5 min). 2-(p-[(11)C]Methylaminophenyl)-7-methoxyimidazo[2,1-b] benzothiazole ([(11)C]5) was identified as a lead based on the combined favorable properties of high initial brain uptake, rapid clearance from normal brain, and high in vitro affinity for A?(1-40) (K(i) = 3.5 nM) and A?(1-42) (5.8 nM), which were superior to the Pittsburgh compound B (1a). In an APP/PS1 mouse model of AD (Tg), we demonstrate a specific uptake of [(11)C]5 in A?-containing telencephalic brain regions by means of small-animal PET that was confirmed by regional brain biodistribution, ex vivo autoradiography, and immunohistochemistry. Analysis of brain sections of Tg mice receiving a single bolus injection of [(11)C]5 and [(3)H]1a together revealed that the tracers bind to A? plaques in the brain of Tg mice in a comparable pattern. Taken together, these data suggest that IBTs represent useful PET imaging agents for high-sensitivity detection of A? plaques.
Transgenic mice expressing mutated amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin (PS)-1 or -2 have been successfully used to model cerebral beta-amyloidosis, one of the characteristic hallmarks of Alzheimers disease (AD) pathology. However, the use of many transgenic lines is limited by premature death, low breeding efficiencies and late onset and high inter-animal variability of the pathology, creating a need for improved animal models. Here we describe the detailed characterization of a new homozygous double-transgenic mouse line that addresses most of these issues.
In vivo imaging and quantification of amyloid-? plaque (A?) burden in small-animal models of Alzheimers disease (AD) is a valuable tool for translational research such as developing specific imaging markers and monitoring new therapy approaches. Methodological constraints such as image resolution of positron emission tomography (PET) and lack of suitable AD models have limited the feasibility of PET in mice. In this study, we evaluated a feasible protocol for PET imaging of A? in mouse brain with [(11)C]PiB and specific activities commonly used in human studies. In vivo mouse brain MRI for anatomical reference was acquired with a clinical 1.5 T system. A recently characterized APP/PS1 mouse was employed to measure A? at different disease stages in homozygous and hemizygous animals. We performed multi-modal cross-validations for the PET results with ex vivo and in vitro methodologies, including regional brain biodistribution, multi-label digital autoradiography, protein quantification with ELISA, fluorescence microscopy, semi-automated histological quantification and radioligand binding assays. Specific [(11)C]PiB uptake in individual brain regions with A? deposition was demonstrated and validated in all animals of the study cohort including homozygous AD animals as young as nine months. Corresponding to the extent of A? pathology, old homozygous AD animals (21 months) showed the highest uptake followed by old hemizygous (23 months) and young homozygous mice (9 months). In all AD age groups the cerebellum was shown to be suitable as an intracerebral reference region. PET results were cross-validated and consistent with all applied ex vivo and in vitro methodologies. The results confirm that the experimental setup for non-invasive [(11)C]PiB imaging of A? in the APP/PS1 mice provides a feasible, reproducible and robust protocol for small-animal A? imaging. It allows longitudinal imaging studies with follow-up periods of approximately one and a half years and provides a foundation for translational Alzheimer neuroimaging in transgenic mice.
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