As a biomarker of beta-amyloid, positron emission tomography (PET) amyloid imaging offers a unique opportunity to detect the presence of this protein in the human body during life. Besides Alzheimer's disease (AD), deposits of beta-amyloid in the brain are also present in other neurodegenerative diseases associated to dementia, such as Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, as well as in other processes affecting brain function, such as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, brain trauma, Down's syndrome and meningiomas, as shown by post-mortem pathology studies. Furthermore, in systemic amyloidosis other organs besides the brain are affected, and amyloid PET imaging may be suitable for the identification of these extra-cerebral amyloid depositions. Finally, the potential use of amyloid PET tracer accumulation in cerebral white matter (WM) as a marker of myelin is being investigated, leading to some promising results in patients with WM lesions and multiple sclerosis. In this article, a review of the ongoing research pointing to a broader application of amyloid PET imaging in clinical practice beyond AD is provided.
Keywords: Amyloid PET; Brain trauma; Cardiac amyloidosis; Cerebral amyloid angiopathy; Down’s syndrome; Multiple sclerosis.