Published: 23-01-2024 15:50 | Updated: 23-01-2024 16:31

New thesis on Tau pathology in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias

Hi Mona-Lisa Malarte, doctoral student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics. Om January 26 you will defend your thesis ”Tau pathology in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias : translational approach from in vitro autoradiography to in vivo PET imaging”. What is the main focus of the thesis?

Mona-Lisa Malarte, PhD student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS. Photo: Annika Clemes

The main objective of this thesis was to shed light on tau pathology in the context of ageing and dementia, with a focus on tauopathies such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). We used a translational approach that ranged from in vitro to in vivo PET imaging data. We also investigated the associations between tau PET and other dementia-related markers, using a multi-modal PET approach.

Which are the most important results?  

Our human in vitro/ex vivo data demonstrated the efficiency of the 2nd generation of tau PET tracers 3H-MK6240 and 3H-PI2620 in distinguishing Alzheimer’s pathology from control brains and their ability to distinguish between early-onset and late-onset AD. Additionally, the study revealed the inter-regional and individual variability of 3H-PI2620’s specificity in CBD and PSP brain tissues. We showed that reactive astrogliosis PET tracers 3H-Deprenyl and 3H-BU99008 had both one primary constant molecular target across AD, CBD and PSP pathologies and that dopaminergic PET tracers could be valuable tools in distinguishing CBD from PSP pathologies.

Our in vivo multi-modal study added evidence to the concept that beyond traditional AD markers of Aβ and tau, a spectrum of biological indicators, including inflammation and neuronal injury, must be considered for early identification and intervention strategies in AD.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?  

By dissecting the binding properties of PET tracers, our research can lead to a better understanding of PET imaging data in tauopathies and early diagnosis, potentially guiding more effective treatments. 

What’s in the future for you? Will you continue to conduct research?  

Yes absolutely, I plan to continue researching neurological disorders, focusing on brain imaging. I consider that brain imaging is one of the keys to detecting as early as possible hallmarks of brain disorders, and that's the direction I'm heading in.