Characteristics of tau and its ligands in PET imaging

Ryuichi Harada, Nobuyuki Okamura, Shozo Furumoto, Tetsuro Tago, Kazuhiko Yanai, Hiroyuki Arai, Yukitsuka Kudo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Tau deposition is one of the neuropathological hallmarks in Alzheimer’s disease as well as in other neurodegenerative disorders called tauopathies. Recent efforts to develop selective tau radiopharmaceuticals have allowed the visualization of tau deposits in vivo. In vivo tau imaging allows the assessment of the regional distribution of tau deposits in a single human subject over time for determining the pathophysiology of tau accumulation in aging and neurodegenerative conditions as well as for application in drug discovery of anti-dementia drugs as surrogate markers. However, tau deposits show complicated characteristics because of different isoform composition, histopathology, and ultrastructure in various neurodegenerative conditions. In addition, since tau radiopharmaceuticals possess different chemotype classes, they may show different binding characteristics with heterogeneous tau deposits. In this review, we describe the characteristics of tau deposits and their ligands that have -sheet binding properties, and the status of tau imaging in clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number07
Pages (from-to)2-15
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 6


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Radiotracer
  • Tau deposits


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