Purpose: Cerebral glucose metabolism measured with [18F]-FDG PET is a well established marker of neuronal dysfunction in neurodegeneration. The tau-protein tracer [18F]-AV-1451 PET is currently under evaluation and shows promising results. Here, we assess the feasibility of early perfusion imaging with AV-1451 as a substite for FDG PET in assessing neuronal injury.
Methods: Twenty patients with suspected neurodegeneration underwent FDG and early phase AV-1451 PET imaging. Ten one-minute timeframes were acquired after application of 200 MBq AV-1451. FDG images were acquired on a different date according to clinical protocol. Early AV-1451 timeframes were coregistered to individual FDG-scans and spatially normalized. Voxel-wise intermodal correlations were calculated on within-subject level for every possible time window. The window with highest pooled correlation was considered optimal. Z-transformed deviation maps (ZMs) were created from both FDG and early AV-1451 images, comparing against FDG images of healthy controls.
Results: Regional patterns and extent of perfusion deficits were highly comparable to metabolic deficits. Best results were observed in a time window from 60 to 360 s (r = 0.86). Correlation strength ranged from r = 0.96 (subcortical gray matter) to 0.83 (frontal lobe) in regional analysis. ZMs of early AV-1451 and FDG images were highly similar.
Conclusion: Perfusion imaging with AV-1451 is a valid biomarker for assessment of neuronal dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. Radiation exposure and complexity of the diagnostic workup could be reduced significantly by routine acquisition of early AV-1451 images, sparing additional FDG PET.
Keywords: Av-1451; Cerebral FDG metabolism; Cerebral perfusion; Neurodegeneration; Tau-imaging.