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PET Imaging of Neuroinflammation in Neurodegenerative Diseases


This study will test whether the drug 11C-ER176 can show brain inflammation on positron emission tomography (PET) scans in people with a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal dementia, compared to healthy individuals.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
18 Years N/A All Yes
July 3, 2019
March 3, 2023

Participants with Neurodegenerative Disease

  • Diagnosis by a neurologist of frontotemporal dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, primary progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, motor neuron disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, primary lateral sclerosis, progressive bulbar palsy, corticobasal syndrome, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or other related adult-onset neurodegenerative disease

Participants with Increased Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease

  • Known family history or other risk of an adult-onset genetic neurodegenerative disease, and/or mutation in a gene known to cause an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease

Healthy Participants

Participants with Neurodegenerative Disease or at Increased Risk

  • Other major neurological or medical diseases that may cause progressive weakness or cognitive dysfunction, such as structural brain or spinal cord disease, metabolic diseases, paraneoplastic syndromes, infectious diseases, peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy (pinched nerve), or other significant neurological abnormalities
  • Unstable medical condition that would make participation unsafe (e.g., active infection or untreated malignancy)
  • Require daytime ventilator support
  • Are unable to travel to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD

Healthy Participants

  • History of medical illness or injury with the potential to affect study data interpretation
  • Any medical situation that conflicts with study procedures, including active infection and untreated malignancy
  • Significant abnormalities on laboratory tests

All Participants

  • Recent exposure to radiation related to research (e.g., PET scan from other research) that, when combined with this study, would be above allowable limits
  • Inability to lie flat and/or still on camera bed for at least 2 hours, including claustrophobia, weight greater than the scanner maximum, and uncontrollable behavioral symptoms
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Current drug or alcohol abuse or dependence
  • Unable to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan (e.g., pacemakers or other implanted electrical devices, brain stimulators, dental implants, aneurysm clips, metal implants, permanent eyeliner, implanted delivery pumps, shrapnel fragments, metal fragments in the eye)
  • National Institute of Mental Health staff members or employees of the National Institutes of Health who are subordinates/relatives/coworkers of investigators

11C-ER176 is a radioligand, a radioactive substance that is injected into the body to help diagnosis diseases or study processes within the body. Participants will undergo two PET scans, one with the study drug 11C-ER176, a biomarker for inflammation, and one with 11C-PIB, a biomarker for the protein amyloid. In addition, participants will have an MRI, as well as brief interviews, medical history, physical exam, blood and urine tests, heart tests, memory and thinking tests, and an optional DNA test. Participants will be invited to return for repeat evaluations approximately 1, 2, and 3 to 5 years after their initial evaluation.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Bethesda Maryland 20892 Recruiting For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Name Role Affiliation
Robert B. Innis, MD Principal Investigator National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Name Phone Email
Holly Giesen 301-435-8982


PET Imaging of Neuroinflammation in Neurodegenerative Diseases Via a Novel TSPO Radioligand