Combined study of cerebral glucose metabolism and [11C]methionine accumulation in probable Alzheimer's disease using positron emission tomography

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1996 May;16(3):399-408. doi: 10.1097/00004647-199605000-00006.


There is a characteristic decrease in glucose metabolism in associative frontal and temporo-parietal cortices of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD). The decrease in metabolism might result from local neuronal loss or from a decrease of synaptic activity. We measured in vivo [11C]methionine accumulation into proteins with positron emission tomography (PET) to assess cortical tissue loss in AD. Both global regional activity and compartmental analysis were used to express [11C]methionine accumulation into brain tissue. Glucose metabolism was measures with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose and autoradiographic method. Combined studies were performed in 10 patients with probable AD, compared to age-matched healthy volunteers. There was a significant 45% decrease of temporo-parietal glucose metabolism in patients with AD, and frontal metabolism was lowered in most patients. Temporo-parietal metabolism correlated to dementia severity. [11C]methionine incorporation into temporo-parietal and frontal cortices was not significantly decreased in AD. There was no correlation with clinical symptoms. Data suggest that regional tissue loss, assessed by the decrease of [11C]methionine accumulation, is not sufficient to explain cortical glucose hypometabolism, which reflects, rather, reduced synaptic connectivity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Methionine
  • Glucose