Molecular Imaging of Neurodegeneration: Way to New Horizon

Guest editors: Victor L. Villemagne, MD, and Henryk Barthel, MD, PhD

Neurodegenerative disorders are chronic and progressive conditions characterized by tissue loss in certain brain systems. They encompass most dementias, movement disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, and other diseases. Because the incidence of most of these disorders increases with age, they are of enormous socioeconomic relevance in our aging societies.

Among other similarities, the disease-specific trigger events in these disorders are still mainly unknown, and consequently, no preventive or curative treatment is currently available.

This supplement to The Journal of Nuclear Medicine aims to provide an up-to-date overview on the different aspects of molecular imaging in neurodegeneration and a discussion on what the future will bring to the field.

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Molecular Imaging of Neurodegeneration: The Way to New Horizons
Victor L. Villemagne and Henryk Barthel
Villemagne and Barthel introduce this special issue of JNM on the current state of the art in molecular imaging in neurodegeneration and opportunities for future development.

18F-FDG PET Imaging in Neurodegenerative Dementing Disorders: Insights into Subtype Classification, Emerging Disease Categories, and Mixed Dementia with Copathologies
Satoshi Minoshima, Donna Cross, Tanyaluck Thientunyakit, Norman Foster, and Alexander Drzezga
Minoshima and colleagues look at evolving applications of18F-FDG PET in neurodegenerative dementia, with a focus on integration of recent discoveries to extend this “workhorse” tool as a precise imaging biomarker of functional disease endophenotype.

The Role of Amyloid PET in Imaging Neurodegenerative Disorders: A Review
Marianne Chapleau, Leonardo Iaccarino, David Soleimani-Meigooni, and Gil D. Rabinovici
Chapleau and colleagues provide an overview of the use of amyloid PET in neurodegenerative diseases, including clinical, pathologic, and imaging correlates; applications in clinical trials; and the comparative utility of other available biomarkers.

Tau PET Imaging in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Colin Groot, Sylvia Villeneuve, Ruben Smith, Oskar Hansson, and Rik Ossenkoppele
Groot and colleagues review methodologic challenges associated with tau PET imaging and assess its growing acceptance as a diagnostic and potentially prognostic marker in dementia and for monitoring novel treatments in clinical trials.

Imaging Dopaminergic Neurotransmission in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Elon D. Wallert, Elsmarieke van de Giessen, Remco J.J. Knol, Martijn Beudel, Rob M.A. de Bie, and Jan Booij
Wallert and colleagues summarize current approaches to imaging brain dopaminergic neurotransmission in neurodegenerative disorders in both routine clinical practice and research settings.

PET Imaging of Cholinergic Neurotransmission in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Solveig Tiepolt, Philipp M. Meyer, Marianne Patt, Winnie Deuther-Conrad, Swen Hesse, Henryk Barthel, and Osama Sabri
Tiepolt and colleagues describe the current status of PET imaging of cholinergic neurotransmission, including utility in diagnosis, disease and therapy monitoring, and pathophysiologic elucidation of various neurodegenerative disorders

Imaging Neuroinflammation in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Joseph C. Masdeu, Belen Pascual, and Masahiro Fujita
Masdeu and colleagues present the characteristics of available PET neuroinflammation tracers and their applications in various neurodegenerative disorders, along with the potential for new PET inflammation biomarkers.

Cyclooxygenases as Potential PET Imaging Biomarkers to Explore Neuroinflammation in Dementia
Bruny V. Kenou, Lester S. Manly, Sara B. Rubovits, Somachukwu A. Umeozulu, Maia G. Van Buskirk, Andrea S. Zhang, Victor W. Pike, Paolo Zanotti-Fregonara, Ioline D. Henter, and Robert B. Innis
Kenou and colleagues review the development of PET radioligands for cyclooxygenase subtypes 1 and 2 as biomarkers of neuroinflammation and summarize recent imaging research in animals and humans.

Imaging of Synaptic Density in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Richard E. Carson, Mika Naganawa, Takuya Toyonaga, Sheida Koohsari, Yanghong Yang, Ming-Kai Chen, David Matuskey, and Sjoerd J. Finnema
Carson and colleagues highlight the introduction of synaptic vesicle protein 2A tracers and quantification methods, including compartment modeling and simple tissue ratios, in both preclinical and human PET imaging.

Future Directions in Molecular Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disorders
Henryk Barthel, Victor L. Villemagne, and Alexander Drzezga
Barthel and colleagues offer perspectives on the future of neurodegeneration tracers and associated imaging technologies, pointing toward enhanced understanding of disease and improved patient care.