Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that has no cure. HD therapeutic development would benefit from a non-invasive translatable biomarker to track disease progression and treatment response. A potential biomarker is using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with a translocator protein 18kDa (TSPO) radiotracer to detect microglial activation, a key contributor to HD pathogenesis. The ability of TSPO-PET to identify microglial activation in HD mouse models, essential for a translatable biomarker, or therapeutic efficacy in HD patients or mice is unknown. Thus, this study assessed the feasibility of utilizing PET imaging with the TSPO tracer, [18F]PBR06, to detect activated microglia in multiple HD mouse models and to monitor response to treatment with LM11A-31, a p75NTR ligand known to reduce neuroinflammation in HD mice. [18F]PBR06-PET detected microglial activation in striatum, cortex and hippocampus of vehicle-treated R6/2 mice at a late disease stage and, notably, also in early and mid-stage symptomatic BACHD mice. After oral administration of LM11A-31 to R6/2 and BACHD mice, [18F]PBR06-PET discerned the reductive effects of LM11A-31 on neuroinflammation in both HD mouse models. [18F]PBR06-PET signal had a spatial distribution similar to ex vivo brain autoradiography and correlated with microglial activation markers: increased IBA-1 and TSPO immunostaining/blotting and striatal levels of cytokines IL-6 and TNFalpha. These results suggest [18F]PBR06-PET as a surrogate marker of therapeutic efficacy in HD mice with high potential as a translatable biomarker for preclinical and clinical HD trials.
View details for PubMedID 29860333