Quantification of Tau Load in Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Trials Using Positron Emission Tomography

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1750:221-229. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7704-8_15.


Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative condition that is neuropathologically characterized by the presence of amyloid-β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles consisting of tau. Recently, several positron emission tomography (PET) tracers have been developed that yielded promising initial results. In this chapter, we discuss how tau PET can be used in the context in clinical trials. We argue that simplified reference tissue models based on dynamic data acquisition are most suitable for accurately measuring changes in tau pathology in trials tailored to reduce cerebral tau load. Therefore, we discuss the importance of tracer kinetic modeling and describe in detail how a reliable measurement of specific binding can be obtained.

Keywords: AV1451; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Clinical trial; Positron emission tomography (PET); Tau.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • tau Proteins