Imaging tau burden in dementia with Lewy bodies using [18F]-AV1451 positron emission tomography.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology is frequently observed as a comorbidity in people with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Here, we evaluated the in vivo distribution of tau burden and its influence on the clinical phenotype of DLB. Tau deposition was quantified using [18F]-AV1451 positron emission tomography in people with DLB (n = 10), AD (n = 27), and healthy controls (n = 14). A subset of patients with Lewy body diseases (n = 4) also underwent [11C]-PK11195 positron emission tomography to estimate microglial activation. [18F]-AV1451 BPND was lower in DLB than AD across widespread regions. The medial temporal lobe [18F]-AV1451 BPND distinguished people with DLB from AD (AUC = 0.87), and negatively correlated with Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-Revised and Mini-Mental State Examination. There was a high degree of colocalization between [18F]-AV1451 and [11C]-PK11195 binding (p < 0.001). Our findings of minimal tau burden in DLB confirm previous studies. Nevertheless, the associations of [18F]-AV1451 binding with cognitive impairment suggest that tau may interact synergistically with other pathologic processes to aggravate disease severity in DLB.