Glitter in the Darkness? Nonfibrillar b-Amyloid Plaque Components Significantly Impact the b-Amyloid PET Signal in Mouse Models of Alzheimer Disease

Gloria Biechele, Laura Sebastian Monasor, Karin Wind, Tanja Blume, Samira Parhizkar, Thomas Arzberger, Christian Sacher, Leonie Beyer, Florian Eckenweber, Franz Josef Gildehaus, Barbara Von Ungern-Sternberg, Michael Willem, Peter Bartenstein, Paul Cumming, Axel Rominger, Jochen Herms, Stefan F. Lichtenthaler, Christian Haass, Sabina Tahirovic, Matthias Brendel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


β-amyloid (Aβ) PET is an important tool for quantification of amyloidosis in the brain of suspected Alzheimer disease (AD) patients and transgenic AD mouse models. Despite the excellent correlation of Aβ PET with gold standard immunohistochemical assessments, the relative contributions of fibrillar and nonfibrillar Aβ components to the in vivo Aβ PET signal remain unclear. Thus, we obtained 2 murine cerebral amyloidosis models that present with distinct Aβ plaque compositions and performed regression analysis between immunohistochemistry and Aβ PET to determine the biochemical contributions to Aβ PET signal in vivo. Methods: We investigated groups of AppNL-G-F and APPPS1 mice at 3, 6, and 12 mo of age by longitudinal 18F-florbetaben Aβ PET and with immunohistochemical analysis of the fibrillar and total Aβ burdens. We then applied group-level intermodality regression models using age- and genotype-matched sets of fibrillar and nonfibrillar Aβ data (predictors) and Aβ PET results (outcome) for both Aβ mouse models. An independent group of double-hit APPPS1 mice with dysfunctional microglia due to knockout of triggering receptor expression on myeloid cells 2 (Trem2-/-) served for validation and evaluation of translational impact. Results: Neither fibrillar nor nonfibrillar Aβ content alone sufficed to explain the Aβ PET findings in either AD model. However, a regression model compiling fibrillar and nonfibrillar Aβ together with the estimate of individual heterogeneity and age at scanning could explain a 93% of variance of the Aβ PET signal (P < 0.001). Fibrillar Aβ burden had a 16-fold higher contribution to the Aβ PET signal than nonfibrillar Aβ. However, given the relatively greater abundance of nonfibrillar Aβ, we estimate that nonfibrillar Aβ produced 79%±25% of the net in vivo Aβ PET signal in AppNL-G-F mice and 25%±12% in APPPS1 mice. Corresponding results in separate groups of APPPS1/Trem2-/- and APPPS1/ Trem2+/+ mice validated the calculated regression factors and revealed that the altered fibrillarity due to Trem2 knockout impacts the Aβ PET signal. Conclusion: Taken together, the in vivo Aβ PET signal derives from the composite of fibrillar and nonfibrillar Aβ plaque components. Although fibrillar Aβ has inherently higher PET tracer binding, the greater abundance of nonfibrillar Aβ plaque in AD-model mice contributes importantly to the PET signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • PET signal
  • amyloid
  • fibrillar
  • mouse
  • nonfibrillar


Dive into the research topics of 'Glitter in the Darkness? Nonfibrillar b-Amyloid Plaque Components Significantly Impact the b-Amyloid PET Signal in Mouse Models of Alzheimer Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this