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Title: (18F) barbiturates as structurally novel PET tracers with diagnostic potential in Alzheimer's disease
Author: Calamai, Elisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 3430
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in elderly people. Although the exact pathogenesis of AD remains unclear, accumulation of β- amyloid (Aβ) plaques seems to be among the causative events. In view of this, Aβ- PET imaging is considered to be a powerful non-invasive diagnostic tool that could also contribute to the development of therapies by monitoring responses. However, Aβ-PET ligands approved so far can only detect heavy plaque load and cannot replace post-mortem examination of brain tissue. The aim of this multidisciplinary study was to develop structurally novel PET tracers for AD. We focused on barbiturates for two main reasons: (i) barbiturates have an excellent ability to cross the blood-brain-barrier, (ii) they are chelators of cations involved in AD. A group of seven “cold” fluorinated barbiturates, along with the corresponding precursors for the “hot” radiosyntheses, was designed and synthesised. All the experimental logP values fell into the optimum range for brain uptake. Barbiturate 1a (Figure I) was selected for further investigations. Upon assessment of its affinity and specificity for Aβ, the radiosynthesis of [18F]1a was optimised. The imaging potential of this tracer was investigated in vivo in pre-clinical mouse models of AD. Brain PET/CT scans with [18F]1a showed reproducible brain uptake and clearance in three different mouse genotypes (WT, APP/PS1 and PLB2-Tau). The significantly higher uptake observed in APP/PS1 mice provided evidence for (i) the in vivo targeting of Aβ- plaques and (ii) the specificity of the tracer towards Aβ pathology. Finally, we designed a second-generation of barbiturates incorporating stilbene groups as dual metal/Ab targeting tracers and we developed a partial synthesis. With this study we paved the way for a larger scale research endeavour that may ultimately result in the rational design of an optimised lead tracer with the potential to ultimately translate into clinical use.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Scottish Imaging Network ; SINAPSE ; Pfizer
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Barbiturates ; Alzheimer's disease ; Tomography ; Emission