Despite the complexity of cholesterol biology in the mammalian brain, excess neuronal cholesterol is known to be cleared primarily by metabolic clearance.
Imaging with PETscan the enzyme responsible for the degradation of cholesterol
The tracer, named at this stage “18F-Cholestify” therefore makes it possible to image the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of cholesterol in the brain using a PET scan. The researchers show here,
in vivo, in mice and in non-human primates that the intensity of the PET signal is correlated with the expression of the protein responsible for cholesterol degradation.
The same observation is made in post-mortem human brain samples.
as an example in vivo, the proof is provided on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, PET imaging confirming the link between alterations in cerebral cholesterol homeostasis.
Taken together, these preclinical and clinical data suggest that PET imaging using the tracer 18F-Cholestify could soon be used in clinical practice for diagnostic purposes.
It is the first non-invasive technology to measure cerebral cholesterol metabolism
and to detect its abnormalities which constitute a recognized risk factor for neurological diseases.
Finally, clinical observations indicate a significantly higher baseline cerebral cholesterol clearance in females, compared to males of the same age.