The proposed Neuroimaging Core (NIC) of the newly established Wake Forest Alzheimer?s Disease Core Center (ADCC) will provide biennial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), amyloid positron emission tomography (11C-PiB PET) and tau PET (18F-AV-1451) to 200 ethnically diverse Clinical Core participants (100 normal older adults and 100 adults with mild cognitive impairment/MCI; 1/3 of each from underrepresented groups) using state of the art protocols optimized for sharing with the National Alzheimer?s Coordinating Center (NACC) and with other investigators. In addition, innovative specialized sequences to assess vascular integrity will be conducted, including multiphase pseudocontinuous arterial spin label (ASL) MRI, and controlled measures of hypercapnic cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR). Thus, the new NIC will enable Wake Forest to provide specialized resources to conduct high impact research examining the longitudinal interaction of AD and vascular pathologies in an ethnically diverse, deeply phenotyped cohort. To facilitate translational research, the NIC will also apply AD MRI protocols to non-human primates (NHP) who spontaneously develop age-related amyloid pathology and metabolic/vascular disease. The Core will leverage an extensive imaging infrastructure with dedicated research resources, including a 3T Siemens Skyra MRI scanner with a high-resolution 32- channel head coil, GE 16-slice PET/CT Discovery ST Scanner, GE PETtrace 10 Cyclotron Radiotracer Production System, and automated analytic pipelines. NIC members will also carry out educational and consultation activities to encourage the expansion of AD-related imaging research at Wake Forest. Led by neuroradiologist Christopher Whitlow, MD, PhD, Director of the Translational Imaging Program of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), and Sam Lockhart, PhD, a neuroimaging investigator with extensive published experience in MR and PET imaging related to AD, vascular pathology, and cognition, the NIC will: 1) conduct state of the art longitudinal MR, amyloid, and tau imaging in Wake Forest ADCC?s ethnically diverse Clinical Core, using protocols aligned with the national ADC network; 2) refine and implement sensitive MRI protocols for vascular integrity (ASL and CVR) that will facilitate understanding of the relationships between vascular and AD pathology and provide methodological innovations to enhance the reliability of multi-site vascular imaging; 3) develop and implement neuroimaging protocols for innovative translational NHP models; and 4) integrate quality-controlled imaging data with clinical and other biomarker data in a user-friendly relational database to facilitate dissemination and use by ADCC, NACC and other investigators.

Public Health Relevance

This application proposes the addition of a new Neuroimaging Core to the Wake Forest Alzheimer?s Disease Core Center (ADCC). Establishment of this Neuroimaging Core will enable long-term, repeated observation of the pathological changes associated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer?s disease using multiple neuroimaging techniques in well-characterized study participants. The Neuroimaging Core will help Wake Forest ADCC researchers differentiate AD from other dementias and address important scientific questions, such as the contributions of vascular and metabolic risk factors in multiple ethnic groups, and will greatly expand the resources that are provided by the ADCC to the broader Alzheimer?s disease research field. !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
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Elliott, Cerise
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
United States
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