Mathematical modelling of amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease

Alex Whittington, PhD, is a Neuro-PET R&D scientist at Invicro LLC. His research focuses on using mathematical modelling of PET data to better understand amyloid and tau accumulation in neurodegenerative diseases. He was the guest speaker at a lecture organized by the MGH Gordon Center. Below is the presentation summary provided through the courtesy of Dr. Whittington.

Dr. Whittington delivering his presentation at the MGH Gordon Center

Neuritic plaques formed primarily of amyloid-β (Aβ) are one of the two pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and can be non-invasively imaged and quantified in vivo using Aβ-positron emission tomography (PET). Imaging studies over the last decade have shown a consistent spatial accumulation pattern of Aβ in AD.

Spatiotemporal modelling of Aβ-PET imaging data can be used to provide evidence that Aβ accumulation starts in all brain regions simultaneously and that its spatiotemporal distribution is a result of heterogeneous regional carrying capacities (regional maximum possible concentration of Aβ) for the aggregated protein rather than longer term spreading from seed regions.

Further, using this modelling process a novel sensitive imaging outcome measure, AβL can be derived which accurately quantifies the Aβ burden for an individual Aβ-PET scan. In future Aβ imaging studies, using AβL will substantial increase in power over currently employed quantification methods.