DOI: 10.1002/alz.071818 ISSN: 1552-5260

Brain‐Penetrable Antibody Probes for in vivo Tau Imaging

Andrew Kelleher, Brandon Richardson, Vinay Banka, Dag Sehlin, Greta Hultqvist, Einar M. Sigurdsson, Stina Syvänen, Yu‐Shin Ding,
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Antibody‐based PET ligands are desirable due to their high specificity; however, their brain uptakes are limited by the blood‐brain barrier (BBB). We previously demonstrated that transport of antibody across BBB can be facilitated through interaction with the transferrin receptor (TfR)1. We report here the first in vivo PET imaging studies using BBB permeable F‐18 radiolabeled bispecific antibodies specific to tau protein in mice.


We performed multiple PET scans using each of the radio‐probes synthesized via conjugation of [18F]SFB with one of the four bispecific antibody constructs: 1) 6B2G12‐ScFv8D3 (full‐size Tau antibody conjugated with TfR fragment (ScFv8D3); abbreviated as TAUb), 2) ScFv235‐ScFv8D3 (small Tau‐TfR; TAUs), 3) 3D6‐ScFv8D3 (full‐size Aβ‐TfR; Aβb) or 4) ScFv3D6‐ScFv3D6 (small Aβ‐TfR; Aβs). We used a matched control design to compare a WT with one of the two types of transgenic (tg) tauopathy mice [PS19 (P301S) or JNPL3 (P301)] in each scan. Subjects were scanned on a MOLECUBES PET/CT scanner. An initial low‐dose (244 ± 54 μCi) dynamic scan (30 min) was performed, followed by two scans at 8hr and 12hr (20 min each static scans) after injection of a high dose (1832 ± 447 μCi) of the same probe. PMOD and FireVoxel were used for imaging processing. After co‐registration of PET/CT/atlas, data were quantified as SUV and SUVR [CB as a reference], and clearance was estimated as %change/hr.


TAUs probe displayed highest brain uptake with more specific binding retained in the brain, as compared to TAUb and Aβs. TAUs probe showed faster brain penetration in tau‐tg mice than in WT, with differences in amygdala, basal forebrain, and hypothalamus of 66%, 62% and 85%, respectively, at 8hr post‐injection (Fig. 1). Further, higher brain uptakes (TAUs > Aβs) in the same tau‐tg mouse (Fig. 2) suggest the specific binding of TAUs probe, while Aβs probe can serve as a control due to its lack of specific binding in tau‐tg mice.


We have successfully synthesized and evaluated four novel F‐18 bispecific antibodies via in vivo PET. TAUs probe showed most promising BBB permeability and binding specificity to tau antigen with a reasonable clearance.

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