Developments in Tau PET Imaging

Can J Neurol Sci. 2014 Sep;41(5):547-53. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2014.15.


ABSTRACT The presence of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain is a hallmark feature of several neurodegenerative diseases termed "tauopathies," including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the tau molecular subgroup of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-tau). Recently, several positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceuticals targeting abnormal conformations of the tau protein have been developed. To date, six novel tau imaging agents-[18F]THK523, [18F]THK5105, [18F]THK5117, [18F]T807, [18F]T808, and [11C]PBB3-have been described and are considered promising as potential tau radioligands. Tau imaging agents offer the opportunity of in vivo topographical mapping and quantification of tau aggregates in parallel with clinical and cognitive assessments. As such, tau imaging is considered of key importance for progress toward earlier and more accurate diagnosis of tauopathies as well as for the monitoring of therapeutic interventions and drug development. Here, we shed light on the most important developments in tau radiopharmaceuticals, highlighting challenges, possibilities and future directions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / trends*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism
  • Tauopathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tauopathies / metabolism
  • tau Proteins* / metabolism


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • tau Proteins