The amyloid imaging agent, Pittsburgh Compound-B, binds with high affinity to β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain, and it is well established that PiB also shows non-specific retention in white matter (WM). However, little is known about retention of PiB in areas of white matter hyperintensities (WMH), abnormalities commonly seen in older adults. Further, it is hypothesized that WMH are related to both cognitive dysfunction and Aβ deposition. The goal of the present study was to explore PiB retention in both normal-appearing WM (NAWM) and WMH in a group of elderly, cognitively normal individuals. In a group of cognitively normal elderly (n = 64; 86.5 ± 2.6 years) two analyses were applied: (1) ROIs were placed over periventricular areas in which WMH caps are commonly seen on all subjects, regardless of WMH burden or size. (2) Subject-specific maps of NAWM and WMH were co-registered with the PiB-PET images and mean SUVR values were calculated in these NAWM and WMH maps. PiB retention was significantly reduced in the ROIs of subjects with high WMH compared to subjects with low WMH. Additionally, in subjects with high WMH, there was significantly lower PiB retention in subject-specific maps of WMH compared to NAWM, which was not observed in subjects with low WMH, likely because of the small size of WMH maps in this group. These data suggest that WM in areas of WMH binds PiB less effectively than does normal WM. Further exploration of this phenomenon may lead to insights about the molecular basis of the non-specific retention of amyloid tracers in white matter.
Keywords: Amyloid imaging; PET; PiB; white matter hyperintensities.