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Brain Imaging in Alzheimer's Disease

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00039702
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 7, 2002
Last Update Posted : March 4, 2008
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:

The purpose of this study is to use brain imaging technology to examine the role of certain brain chemicals in individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in healthy volunteers.

Cognitive dysfunction in people with AD is thought to arise from decreased chemical activity in specific parts of the brain. Decreases in alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetycholine receptors (nAChRs) have been found in the brains of people who died with AD; however, the status of this receptor system in living brains remains unclear. This study will use single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to study this receptor system in people with AD who have mild to moderate dementia and in healthy volunteers. In addition, this study will examine the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and nAChR deficits in the brains of individuals with AD.

Participants with AD will have four clinic visits; healthy volunteers will have three visits. At Visit 1, participants will undergo a medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Healthy volunteers will have a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) cognitive function test. Participants with AD will have a MMSE and measurement of the severity of their dementia.

During Visit 2, participants will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain.

At Visit 3, participants will undergo SPECT imaging.

Only participants with AD will participate in Visit 4. During this visit, cognitive testing will be performed.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Alzheimer Disease Drug: [123] 5-I-A-85380

Detailed Description:
Cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients are thought to arise in part from underlying losses of cholinergic input to cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Consistent marked decreases of alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are found in postmortem AD brains. However, knowledge of the in vivo status of this receptor system is limited due to the lack of suitable tracers for PET/SPECT imaging. We plan to use a new SPECT tracer, [123I]5-I-A-85380, which appears suitable for imaging the alpha4beta2 subtype of nAChRs, in order to delineate abnormalities of this receptor system in a "subgroup" of 20 mild to moderately demented AD patients against 20 age matched healthy controls, the "subgroup" being characterized by carrying the AD susceptibility Apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele. In addition, we plan to examine the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and alpha4beta2 nAChr deficits in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of these AD patients. This study represents our initial effort toward our long-term goal of understanding the role this important receptor system plays in the pathophysiological mechanisms and drug manipulation of AD.

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Study Type : Observational
Enrollment : 40 participants
Official Title: SPECT Imaging of Alpha4beta2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Using [123I]5-I-A-85380 in Alzheimer's Disease
Study Start Date : June 2002
Study Completion Date : September 2004

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Older Adult
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes


All AD patients will meet NINCDS-ADRDA criteria for probable AD with age of onset between 50 and 65 years of age.

The AD patients will be mild to moderately demented as assessed by the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination.

In particular, the AD patients will be nonsmokers because of known effects of smoking on nAChRs.

Patients will be characterized by their APOE genotype as nAChR changes might be different with differing doses of this allele.

We will not exclude AD patients from participating while they are on AChe inhibitors.


We will exclude patients who are on galanthamine (Reminyl).

We will exclude patients on antidepressants and/or psychotropic drugs.


Nonsmoking healthy individuals who satisfy the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00039702

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United States, Maryland
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00039702    
Other Study ID Numbers: 020058
First Posted: June 7, 2002    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 4, 2008
Last Verified: September 2004
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors
Alzheimer's Disease
Healthy Volunteer
Normal Control
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Alzheimer Disease
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurocognitive Disorders
Mental Disorders