Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Disease (GSS) is a familial neurodegenerative disorder characterized clinically by ataxia, parkinsonism, and dementia, and neuropathologically by deposition of diffuse and amyloid plaques composed of prion protein (PrP). The purpose of this study was to evaluate if [(11)C]Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) is capable of detecting PrP-amyloid in PRNP gene carriers. Six individuals at risk for GSS and eight controls underwent [(11)C]PiB PET scans using standard methods. Approximately one year after the initial scan, each of the three asymptomatic carriers (two with PRNP P102L mutation, one with PRNP F198S mutation) underwent a second [(11)C]PiB PET scan. Three P102L carriers, one F198S carrier, and one non-carrier of the F198S mutation were cognitively normal, while one F198S carrier was cognitively impaired during the course of this study. No [(11)C]PiB uptake was observed in any subject at baseline or at follow-up. Neuropathologic study of the symptomatic individual revealed PrP-immunopositive plaques and tau-immunopositive neurofibrillary tangles in cerebral cortex, subcortical nuclei, and brainstem. PrP deposits were also numerous in the cerebellar cortex. This is the first study to investigate the ability of [(11)C]PiB PET to bind to PrP-amyloid in GSS F198S subjects. This finding suggests that [(11)C]PiB PET is not suitable for in vivo assessment of PrP-amyloid plaques in patients with GSS.
Keywords: Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS); [11C]Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET); amyloid; neuroimaging; prion disease.