The positron emission tomography (PET) ligand 11C-labeled Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) is used to image β-amyloid (Aβ) deposits in the brains of living subjects with the intent of detecting early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, deposits of human-sequence Aβ in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice and non-human primates bind very little PIB. The high stoichiometry of PIB:Aβ binding in human AD suggests that the PIB-binding site may represent a particularly pathogenic entity and/or report local pathologic conditions. In this study, 3H-PIB was employed to track purification of the PIB-binding site in > 90% yield from frontal cortical tissue of autopsy-diagnosed AD subjects. The purified PIB-binding site comprises a distinct, highly insoluble subfraction of the Aβ in AD brain with low buoyant density because of the sodium dodecyl sulfate-resistant association with a limited subset of brain proteins and lipids with physical properties similar to lipid rafts and to a ganglioside:Aβ complex in AD and Down syndrome brain. Both the protein and lipid components are required for PIB binding. Elucidation of human-specific biological components and pathways will be important in guiding improvement of the animal models for AD and in identifying new potential therapeutic avenues.
- radioreceptor assay
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience