In Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's
disease, loss of the sense of smell often precedes classical symptoms of
cognitive or motor dysfunction. Therefore, a technique that is able to
non-invasively quantify the olfactory neuron population could provide
important insights related to the diagnosis and progression of
neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.
Olfactory neurons in the nasal cavity are the primary source of our sense of smell. Unlike many types of neurons, olfactory neurons are continuously generated throughout the adult lifespan.
This uniquely high rate of neuronal birth and death makes olfactory neurons particularly sensitive to the detrimental effects of progressive neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disease.
Using GV1-57, they were able to detect neuron generation during rodent postnatal development as well as neuron degeneration in rodent models of aging and neurodegenerative disease.
In an additional proof-of-concept experiment, they showed that GV1-57 maintained saturable binding in non-human primate nasal cavity, suggesting that this radiotracer may be useful for evaluating neurological disease in clinical settings.