Development of 18F-SMBT-1 for imaging reactive astrogliosis in human brain (collaboration with Tohoku University and Austin Hospital, Melbourne)

Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cells and are involved in several functions critical for preservation of brain homeostasis. The change of astrocyte function and morphology (reactive astrogliosis) is a common pathological feature in many neurological disorders. Reactive astrocytes overexpress monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) and molecular neuroimaging studies have employed MAO-B PET as surrogate markers of reactive astrogliosis. 18F-SMBT-1 is a novel PET tracer that selectively binds with high contrast to overexpressed MAO-B in reactive astrocytes (Harada et al. 2021). This tracer will provide robust measures of reactive astrogliosis in vivo and establish its relationship to misfolded protein aggregates.

18F-SMBT-1 PET image in a patient with Alzheimer’s disease

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