Utility of FDG-PET in diagnosis of Alzheimer-related TDP-43 proteinopathy


To evaluate FDG-PET as an antemortem diagnostic tool for Alzheimer-related TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy.


We conducted a cross-sectional neuroimaging–histologic analysis of patients with antemortem FDG-PET and postmortem brain tissue from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Study of Aging with Alzheimer spectrum pathology. TDP-43-positive status was assigned when TDP-43-immunoreactive inclusions were identified in the amygdala. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses compared TDP-43-positive (TDP-43[+]) with TDP-43-negative cases (TDP-43[–]), correcting for field strength, sex, Braak neurofibrillary tangle, and neuritic plaque stages. Cross-validated logistic regression analyses were used to determine whether regional FDG-PET values predict TDP-43 status. We also assessed the ratio of inferior temporal to medial temporal (IMT) metabolism as this was proposed as a biomarker of hippocampal sclerosis.


Of 73 cases, 27 (37%) were TDP-43(+), of which 6 (8%) had hippocampal sclerosis. SPM analysis showed TDP-43(+) cases having greater hypometabolism of medial temporal, frontal superior medial, and frontal supraorbital (FSO) regions (punc < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed only FSO and IMT to be associated with TDP-43(+) status, identifying up to 81% of TDP-43(+) cases (p < 0.001). An IMT/FSO ratio was superior to the IMT in discriminating TDP-43(+) cases: 78% vs 48%, respectively.


Alzheimer-related TDP-43 proteinopathy is associated with hypometabolism in the medial temporal and frontal regions. Combining FDG-PET measures from these regions may be useful for antemortem prediction of Alzheimer-related TDP-43 proteinopathy.

Classification of evidence

This study provides Class II evidence that hypometabolism in the medial temporal and frontal regions on FDG-PET is associated with Alzheimer-related TDP-43 proteinopathy.

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