[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes several functions in neurons and modulates neurotransmissions, especially in hippocampal regions. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) has a strong genetic background, but genetic risk factors associated with sporadic disease are unknown. Hippocampal involvement is frequently observed in FTLD. The aims of this study were: i) to evaluate if BDNF genetic variations are associated with an increased risk of developing FTLD; and ii) to assess the neuroimaging profiles associated with BDNF polymorphisms. Ninety-one FTLD patients who underwent SPECT imaging and blood sampling entered the study, and clinical, cognitive, and behavioral examinations were performed. A larger group of FTLD patients (n = 194) and controls (n = 396; 162 healthy subjects and 234 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients) underwent genetic analyses, considering BDNF polymorphisms (Val66Met, rs2049045 C/G, G11757C). A significant different distribution of G11757C genotype in FTLD (GG 53.1%, GC 42.8%, CC 4.1%) compared to controls (G/G 55.6%, G/C 34.6%, C/C 9.8%, p = 0.020) was found. No other significant differences in genotype and allele distributions were detected. The effect of BDNF polymorphisms on brain perfusion was analyzed. BDNF Val66Met A* carriers (A/A or G/A) showed a significant greater hypoperfusion parahippocampal regions as compared to G/G carriers (p < 0.005). No effect of G11757C polymorphism on brain perfusion was found. rs2049045 C/G was not considered as in linkage disequilibrium with Val66Met polymorphism. BDNF Val66Met polymorphism may play a role as a modulator of the FTLD expression and may drive a selective damage in specific brain region affected by the disease.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granulin (GRN) mutations have been identified as a major cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) by haploinsufficiency mechanism, although their effects on brain tissue dysfunction and damage still remain to be clarified. In this study, we investigated the pattern of neuroimaging abnormalities in FTLD patients, carriers and noncarriers of GRN Thr272fs mutation, and in presymptomatic carriers. We assessed regional gray matter (GM) atrophy, and resting (RS)-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The functional connectivity maps of the salience (SN) and the default mode (DMN) networks were considered. Frontotemporal gray matter atrophy was found in all FTLD patients (more remarkably in those GRN Thr272fs carriers), but not in presymptomatic carriers. Functional connectivity within the SN was reduced in all FTLD patients (again more remarkably in those mutation carriers), while it was enhanced in the DMN. Conversely, presymptomatic carriers showed increased connectivity in the SN, with no changes in the DMN. Our findings suggest that compensatory mechanisms of brain plasticity are present in GRN-related FTLD, but with different patterns at a preclinical and symptomatic disease stage.
No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Neurobiology of aging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) has a heterogeneous neuropathological spectrum, ranging from the classical corticobasal degeneration to Alzheimer's disease (AD). The neuropathology of CBS is still unpredictable. CSF tau/abeta ratio is a reliable marker of AD.
To evaluate the presence of a distinct clinical and neuroimaging CBS phenotype according to CSF pattern.
30 patients fulfilling current clinical criteria for CBS entered the study. Each patient underwent a clinical and standardised neuropsychological assessment, and CSF analysis (total tau and abeta42 dosages). CSF AD-like pattern and CSF non-AD like pattern (nAD-like) were identified. In 23 CBS cases, (99m)Tc-ECD single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan was performed and analysed by statistical parametric mapping.
CSF AD-like pattern was reported in six cases (20%). The two subgroups did not differ in demographic characteristics or global cognitive impairment. The AD-like group showed greater impairment of memory performances, language and psychomotor speed while the nAD-like group had more severe extrapyramidal syndrome with comparable apraxia scores. Voxel by voxel analysis on SPECT images demonstrated that CBS AD-like patients had greater hypoperfusion in the brain areas typically affected by AD-namely, precuneus, posterior cingulate and hippocampus, bilaterally-compared with nAD-like patients (p<0.001). No clusters above the pre-established threshold were detected when nAD-like were compared with AD-like patients.
CSF AD-like profile in CBS is associated with earlier memory impairment and brain abnormalities typically found in classical AD. These findings argue for the usefulness of CSF testing to identify AD in CBS, and might suggest a different pharmacological approach on the basis of biological data.
No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) refers to heterogeneous clinical and biological conditions. In FTLD, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau levels have been reported highly variable. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether CSF tau might be the hallmark of a distinct FTLD phenotype. Fifty-five FTLD patients, who underwent CSF analysis, were considered in the present study. In each patient, a wide standardized neuropsychological evaluation, and CSF tau, phospho-tau, and amyloid-β (Aβ) dosages were performed. Each patient was followed-up to five years, and outcomes carefully recorded. In a subgroup of patients (n = 24), magnetic resonance imaging scanning was performed, by using voxel-based morphometry, for grey matter investigation. The higher the CSF tau levels, the worse the neuropsychological and neuroimaging pattern, mainly characterized by greater language disturbances and left temporal grey matter loss. The same pattern, even if less significant, was associated with CSF phospho-tau, while CSF Aβ levels did not play any influence on FTLD phenotype. FTLD patients with high CSF tau showed poor prognosis compared to those with low CSF tau (p = 0.031). In FTLD, CSF tau levels might be considered a marker of neurodegeneration, associated with a specific clinical and neuroimaging picture, and significantly related to poor outcome. Further studies aimed at defining the biological underpinnings of these findings are warranted.
No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Studies on familial aggregation might be of help to evaluate whether the genetic background has a key role in Progressive Supranuclar Palsy (PSP) and Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS). Only a few studies are available.
Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of positive family history (FH) in PSP and CBS in a large sample of patients.
Methods: Two hundred and thirty patients and 110 controls entered the study. Patients underwent an extensive clinical, neurological and neuropsychological assessment as well as a structural brain imaging study. A clinical follow-up further confirmed the diagnosis. Familial aggregation was carefully recorded by a standardised questionnaire.
Results: One hundred and twenty-nine PSP (age at onset = 66.6 ± 7.3, female = 46.1%) and 101 CBS (age at onset = 62.8 ± 8.9, female = 41.6%) were consecutively enrolled. Positive FH was found in 31.8% of PSP (n = 41) and in 31.7% of CBS (n = 32). Familial aggregation was lower in the age-matched control group compared to patient group (21.8%, P = 0.05). Patients with PSP had higher positive FH for Parkinsonism (63.4%) when compared to FH for dementia (36.6%). In CBS, FH was equally distributed between Parkinsonism (53.1%) and dementia (46.9%). In addition, FH was not associated with age at disease onset in PSP (FH+ versus FH−, 67.0 ± 7.3 vs. 66.7 ± 7.1, P = 0.788) and in CBS (62.6 ± 7.9 vs. 62.9 ± 9.5, P= 0.877).
Conclusions: These results argue for familial aggregation in PSP and CBS, further underlying the importance of genetic background in these disorders. Further studies on possible genetic modulators or genetic epistasis contributing to PSP and CBS development are warranted.
No preview · Article · May 2010 · European Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) is a heterogeneous disorder characterized by impairment in executive functions, behavioural disturbance and language deficit. Reliable scales of global impairment are under evaluation. A consortium of Mayo Clinic and University of California FTLD Centers has recently developed the FTLD-modified Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale to assess FTLD severity.
To evaluate whether FTLD-modified CDR scores correlate with the pattern and degree of brain SPECT hypoperfusion in patients with FTLD.
Ninety-nine patients with FTLD entered the study. Patients underwent a clinical evaluation and a wide standardized neuropsychological assessment, including mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and FTLD-modified CDR. A brain SPECT perfusion imaging study was carried out in each patient. A linear correlation analysis between frontotemporal dementia-modified CDR or neuropsychological tests scores and perfusion data was performed.
There was a significant relationship between higher FTLD-modified CDR score and lower global regional cerebral blood flow in the frontal and temporal lobes, bilaterally. No significant correlation between MMSE and brain frontotemporal hypoperfusion was found. The correlation between brain hypoperfusion pattern and neuropsychological test scores tapping different cognitive domains fitted with previously published data.
The recently introduced FTLD-modified CDR scale correlates with the degree of frontotemporal hypoperfusion in patients with FTLD. This study confirms and further supports the usefulness of FTLD-modified CDR in future clinical trials to monitor disease progression.
No preview · Article · May 2010 · European Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The FOXP2 gene is mutated in a severe monogenic form of speech and language deficits, but no study on the influence of genetic variations within FOXP2 in neurological disorders characterized by language impairment is available yet. In the present study, we investigated the impact of common FOXP2 polymorphisms with regard to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Two-hundred ten FTLD patients underwent clinical and a wide standardized neuropsychological examination as well as brain imaging. In all patients, and in 200 age-matched healthy controls, four FOXP2 polymorphisms were evaluated, namely rs2396753, rs1456031, rs17137124 and rs1852469. SPECT images were analyzed by Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM5). No significant differences of the four FOXP2 polymorphisms in genotype distribution and allele frequency between FTLD and controls were observed. A significant and specific association between rs1456031 TT and rs17137124 TT genotypes and verbal fluency scores was reported. The two polymorphisms showed an addictive effect. When the analysis was computed on the number of observations over time, and 391 assessments considered, comparable results were obtained. FTLD patients carrying at-risk polymorphisms showed greater hypoperfusion in the frontal areas, namely the left inferior frontal gyrus, and putamen, compared to the non-carriers (p < 0.005). Genetic variations within FOXP2 do not represent a genetic risk to FTLD per se, but modulate FTLD presentation when disease is overt, affecting language performances and leading to hypoperfusion in language-associated brain areas.
No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD