Utilizing a Radiotracer to Shed Light on Brain Fluid Dynamics: Mony de Leon, EdD


The director of the Brain Health Imaging Institute in the department of radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine talked about using a novel radiotracer to understand the movement of fluids and waste products in the brain. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"The waste product is collected from the brain, and it goes somewhere. How it goes, where, and the timing of where it goes, are all important to understand why there's this backing up of the fluid pathway in diseases like Alzheimer."

Prior research suggests that a reduced clearance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a pathological feature of Alzheimer disease (AD). In nonhuman mammals and contradictory human neuroimaging data, findings show that it is still unclear whether the nasal mucosa is a CSF drainage site in patients. In a paper published in Fluids and Barriers of the CNS, researchers used dynamic PET with [1-11C]-Butanol, a highly permeable radiotracer with no appreciable brain binding, to examine whether brain and nasal fluid drainage times were correlated and affected by brain amyloid.1

Conducted by senior author Mony de Leon, EdD, and colleagues, 24 cognitively normal participants at least 65 years of age were dynamically PET imaged for 60 min using [1-11C]-Butanol. Imaging with either [11C]-PiB or [18F]-FBB recognized 8 amyloid PET positive (Aβ+) and 16 Aβ- participants. MRI-determined regions of interest (ROI) included: the carotid artery, the lateral orbitofrontal (LOF) brain, the cribriform plate, and an All-turbinate region comprised of the superior, middle, and inferior turbinates. Additional findings showed that the lateral orbitofrontal brain All-turbinate regions had a positive association, suggesting a connection between the brain and the nose.

de Leon, director of the Brain Health Imaging Institute and professor of neuroscience in the department of radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss how use of the novel radiotracer helps to improve the understanding of brain fluid dynamics. He also talked about the significance of the study's findings in relation to AD. In addition, de Leon spoke about how the findings might influence future research on brain waste removal systems.

1. Mehta NH, Wang X, Keil SA, et al. [1-11C]-Butanol Positron Emission Tomography reveals an impaired brain to nasal turbinates pathway in aging amyloid positive subjects. Fluids Barriers CNS. 2024;21(1):30. Published 2024 Apr 2. doi:10.1186/s12987-024-00530-y
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