Cerebellar Amyloid-β plaques: How frequent are they, and do they influence 18F-Florbetaben SUV ratios?

Ana M. Catafau, Santiago Bullich, John P. Seibyl, Henryk Barthel, Bernardino Ghetti, James Leverenz, James W. Ironside, Walter J. Schulz-Schaeffer, Anja Hoffmann, Osama Sabri

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SUV ratios (SUVRs) are used for relative quantification of 18Fflorbetaben scans. The cerebellar cortex can be used as a reference region for quantification. However, cerebellar amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques may be present in Alzheimer disease (AD). The aim of this study was to assess the influence of Aβ pathology, including neuritic plaques, diffuse plaques, and vascular deposits, in 18F-florbetaben SUVR when cerebellum is used as the reference. Methods: Using immunohistochemistry to demonstrate Aβ plaques and vascular deposits, and using the Bielschowsky method to demonstrate neuritic plaques, we performed a neuropathologic assessment of the frontal, occipital, anterior cingulate, and posterior cingulate cerebral cortices and the cerebellar cortex of 87 end-of-life patients (64 with AD, 14 with other types of dementia, and 9 nondemented aged volunteers; mean age ± SD, 80.4 ± 10.2 y) who had undergone 18F-florbetaben PET before death. The lesions were rated as absent (none or sparse) or present (moderate or frequent). Mean cortical SUVRs were compared among cases with different cerebellar Aβ loads. Results: None of the 83 evaluable cerebellar samples showed frequent diffuse Aβ or neuritic plaques; 8 samples showed frequent vascular Aβ deposits. Diffuse Aβ plaques were rated as absent in 78 samples (94%) and present in 5 samples (6%). Vascular Aβ was rated as absent in 62 samples (74.7%) and present in 21 samples (25.3%). No significant differences in cerebellar SUVs were found among cases with different amounts or types of Aβ deposits in the cerebral cortex. Both diffuse and neuritic plaques were found in the cerebral cortex of 26-44 cases. No significant SUVR differences were found between these brains with different cerebellar Aβ loads. Conclusion: The effect of cerebellar plaques on cortical 18F-florbetaben SUVRs appears to be negligible even in advanced stages of AD with a higher cerebellar Aβ load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1740-1745
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Florbetaben
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Catafau, A. M., Bullich, S., Seibyl, J. P., Barthel, H., Ghetti, B., Leverenz, J., Ironside, J. W., Schulz-Schaeffer, W. J., Hoffmann, A., & Sabri, O. (2016). Cerebellar Amyloid-β plaques: How frequent are they, and do they influence 18F-Florbetaben SUV ratios? Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 57(11), 1740-1745. https://doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.115.171652