High Availability of the α7-Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor in Brains of Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study Using 18F-ASEM PET

Jennifer M. Coughlin, Leah H. Rubin, Yong Du, Steven P. Rowe, Jeffrey L. Crawford, Hailey B. Rosenthal, Sarah M. Frey, Erica S. Marshall, Laura K. Shinehouse, Allen Chen, Caroline L. Speck, Yuchuan Wang, Wojciech G. Lesniak, Il Minn, Arnold Bakker, Vidyulata Kamath, Gwenn S. Smith, Marilyn S. Albert, Babak Behnam Azad, Robert F. DannalsAndrew Horti, Dean F. Wong, Martin G. Pomper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Emerging evidence supports a hypothesized role for the α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease. 18F-ASEM (3-(1,4-diazabicyclo[3.2.2]nonan-4-yl)-6-18F-fluorodibenzo[b,d]thiophene 5,5-dioxide) is a radioligand for estimating the availability of α7-nAChR in the brain in vivo with PET. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 14 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a prodromal stage to dementia, and 17 cognitively intact, elderly controls completed 18F-ASEM PET. For each participant, binding in each region of interest was estimated using Logan graphical analysis with a metabolite-corrected arterial input function. Results: Higher 18F-ASEM binding was observed in MCI patients than in controls across all regions, supporting higher availability of α7-nAChR in MCI. 18F-ASEM binding was not associated with verbal memory in this small MCI sample. Conclusion: These data support use of 18F-ASEM PET to examine further the relationship between α7-nAChR availability and MCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-426
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020



  • 18F-ASEM
  • PET
  • cholinergic
  • dementia
  • nAChR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this