Case Report: 18F-MK6240 Tau Positron Emission Tomography Pattern Resembling Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a Retired Australian Rules Football Player

Natasha Krishnadas, Vincent Doré, Fiona Lamb, Colin Groot, Paul McCrory, Rodney Guzman, Rachel Mulligan, Kun Huang, Meaghan O'Donnell, Jennie Ponsford, Malcolm Hopwood, Victor L. Villemagne, Christopher C. Rowe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: It remains unclear if tau imaging may assist diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Flortaucipir PET has shown superior frontal with medial temporal tau binding consistent with the provisional neuropathological criteria for mid-stage CTE in group-level analyses of retired symptomatic NFL players and in one individual with pathologically confirmed CTE. 18F-MK6240 is a new PET ligand that has high affinity for tau. We present the case of a 63-year-old cognitively impaired, former Australian rules football player with distinct superior frontal and medial temporal 18F-MK6240 binding and show it to be significantly different to the pattern seen in prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD). Findings: The participant was recruited for a study of amyloid-β and tau several decades after traumatic brain injury. He had multiple concussions during his football career but no cognitive complaints at retirement. A thalamic stroke in his mid 50s left stable mild cognitive deficits but family members reported further short-term memory, behavioral, and personality decline preceding the study. Imaging showed extensive small vessel disease on MRI, a moderate burden of amyloid-β plaques, and 18F-MK6240 binding in bilateral superior frontal and medial temporal cortices. Voxel-wise analysis demonstrated that the frontally predominant pattern of the participant was significantly different to the posterior temporo-parietal predominant pattern of prodromal AD. Conclusion: Although lacking neuropathological examination to distinguish CTE from a variant of AD, the clear demonstration of a CTE-like tau pattern in a single at-risk individual suggests further research on the potential of 18F-MK6240 PET for identifying CTE is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number598980
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020

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