White matter tract signatures of impaired social cognition in frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
ABSTRACT: Impairments of social cognition are often leading features in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and likely to reflect large-scale brain network disintegration. However, the neuroanatomical basis of impaired social cognition in FTLD and the role of white matter connections have not been defined. Here we assessed social cognition in a cohort of patients representing two core syndromes of FTLD, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD; n = 29) and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA; n = 15), relative to healthy older individuals (n = 37) using two components of the Awareness of Social Inference Test, canonical emotion identification and sarcasm identification. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to derive white matter tract correlates of social cognition performance and compared with the distribution of grey matter atrophy on voxel-based morphometry. The bvFTD and svPPA groups showed comparably severe deficits for identification of canonical emotions and sarcasm, and these deficits were correlated with distributed and overlapping white matter tract alterations particularly affecting frontotemporal connections in the right cerebral hemisphere. The most robust DTI associations were identified in white matter tracts linking cognitive and evaluative processing with emotional responses: anterior thalamic radiation, fornix (emotion identification) and uncinate fasciculus (sarcasm identification). DTI associations of impaired social cognition were more consistent than corresponding grey matter associations. These findings delineate a brain network substrate for the social impairment that characterises FTLD syndromes. The findings further suggest that DTI can generate sensitive and functionally relevant indexes of white matter damage in FTLD, with potential to transcend conventional syndrome boundaries.
Project description:Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have demonstrated regional patterns of brain macrostructural atrophy and white matter microstructural alterations separately in the three major subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), which includes behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA). This study was to investigate to what extent the pattern of white matter microstructural alterations in FTLD subtypes mirrors the pattern of brain atrophy, and to compare the ability of various diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indices in characterizing FTLD patients, as well as to determine whether DTI measures provide greater classification power for FTLD than measuring brain atrophy. Twenty-five patients with FTLD (13 with bvFTD, 6 with SD, and 6 with PNFA) and 19 healthy age-matched control subjects underwent both structural MRI and DTI scans. Measurements of regional brain atrophy were based on T1-weighted MRI data and voxel-based morphometry. Measurements of regional white matter degradation were based on voxelwise as well as regions-of-interest tests of DTI variations, expressed as fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. Compared to controls, bvFTD, SD, and PNFA patients each exhibited characteristic regional patterns of brain atrophy and white matter damage. DTI overall provided significantly greater accuracy for FTLD classification than brain atrophy. Moreover, radial diffusivity was more sensitive in assessing white matter damage in FTLD than other DTI indices. The findings suggest that DTI in general and radial diffusivity in particular are more powerful measures for the classification of FTLD patients from controls than brain atrophy.
Project description:Deficits of flavour processing may be clinically important in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).To examine flavour processing in FTLD.We studied flavour identification prospectively in 25 patients with FTLD (12 with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), eight with semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), five with non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA)) and 17 healthy control subjects, using a new test based on cross-modal matching of flavours to words and pictures. All subjects completed a general neuropsychological assessment, and odour identification was also assessed using a modified University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. Brain MRI volumes from the patient cohort were analysed using voxel-based morphometry to identify regional grey matter associations of flavour identification.Relative to the healthy control group, the bvFTD and svPPA subgroups showed significant (p<0.05) deficits of flavour identification and all three FTLD subgroups showed deficits of odour identification. Flavour identification performance did not differ significantly between the FTLD syndromic subgroups. Flavour identification performance in the combined FTLD cohort was significantly (p<0.05 after multiple comparisons correction) associated with grey matter volume in the left entorhinal cortex, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus and temporal pole.Certain FTLD syndromes are associated with impaired flavour identification and this is underpinned by grey matter atrophy in an anteromedial temporal lobe network. These findings may have implications for our understanding of abnormal eating behaviour in these diseases.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Degradation of white matter microstructure has been demonstrated in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). In preparation for clinical trials, ongoing studies are investigating the utility of longitudinal brain imaging for quantification of disease progression. To date only one study has examined sample size calculations based on longitudinal changes in white matter integrity in FTLD.<h4>Objective</h4>To quantify longitudinal changes in white matter microstructural integrity in the three canonical subtypes of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and AD using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).<h4>Methods</h4>60 patients with clinical diagnoses of FTD, including 27 with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), 14 with non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA), and 19 with semantic variant PPA (svPPA), as well as 19 patients with AD and 69 healthy controls were studied. We used a voxel-wise approach to calculate annual rate of change in fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) in each group using two time points approximately one year apart. Mean rates of change in FA and MD in 48 atlas-based regions-of-interest, as well as global measures of cognitive function were used to calculate sample sizes for clinical trials (80% power, alpha of 5%).<h4>Results</h4>All FTD groups showed statistically significant baseline and longitudinal white matter degeneration, with predominant involvement of frontal tracts in the bvFTD group, frontal and temporal tracts in the PPA groups and posterior tracts in the AD group. Longitudinal change in MD yielded a larger number of regions with sample sizes below 100 participants per therapeutic arm in comparison with FA. SvPPA had the smallest sample size based on change in MD in the fornix (n = 41 participants per study arm to detect a 40% effect of drug), and nfvPPA and AD had their smallest sample sizes based on rate of change in MD within the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (n = 49 for nfvPPA, and n = 23 for AD). BvFTD generally showed the largest sample size estimates (minimum n = 140 based on MD in the corpus callosum). The corpus callosum appeared to be the best region for a potential study that would include all FTD subtypes. Change in global measure of functional status (CDR box score) yielded the smallest sample size for bvFTD (n = 71), but clinical measures were inferior to white matter change for the other groups.<h4>Conclusions</h4>All three of the canonical subtypes of FTD are associated with significant change in white matter integrity over one year. These changes are consistent enough that drug effects in future clinical trials could be detected with relatively small numbers of participants. While there are some differences in regions of change across groups, the genu of the corpus callosum is a region that could be used to track progression in studies that include all subtypes.
Project description:To characterize in vivo signatures of pathological diagnosis in a large cohort of patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) variants defined by current diagnostic classification.Extensive clinical, cognitive, neuroimaging, and neuropathological data were collected from 69 patients with sporadic PPA, divided into 29 semantic (svPPA), 25 nonfluent (nfvPPA), 11 logopenic (lvPPA), and 4 mixed PPA. Patterns of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) atrophy at presentation were assessed and tested as predictors of pathological diagnosis using support vector machine (SVM) algorithms.A clinical diagnosis of PPA was associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP) inclusions in 40.5%, FTLD-tau in 40.5%, and Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology in 19% of cases. Each variant was associated with 1 typical pathology; 24 of 29 (83%) svPPA showed FTLD-TDP type C, 22 of 25 (88%) nfvPPA showed FTLD-tau, and all 11 lvPPA had AD. Within FTLD-tau, 4R-tau pathology was commonly associated with nfvPPA, whereas Pick disease was observed in a minority of subjects across all variants except for lvPPA. Compared with pathologically typical cases, svPPA-tau showed significant extrapyramidal signs, greater executive impairment, and severe striatal and frontal GM and WM atrophy. nfvPPA-TDP patients lacked general motor symptoms or significant WM atrophy. Combining GM and WM volumes, SVM analysis showed 92.7% accuracy to distinguish FTLD-tau and FTLD-TDP pathologies across variants.Each PPA clinical variant is associated with a typical and most frequent cognitive, neuroimaging, and neuropathological profile. Specific clinical and early anatomical features may suggest rare and atypical pathological diagnosis in vivo. Ann Neurol 2017;81:430-443.
Project description:The non-fluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA) and semantic variant (svPPA) of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are neurodegenerative diseases. Previous works have shown alterations of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) from diffusion tensor images (DTIs). This manuscript is aimed at using DTI images to build a global tractography and to identify atrophy patterns of white matter in each variant. Twenty patients with svPPA, 20 patients with nfvPPA, 26 patients with behavioral variant of FTD (bvFTD) and, 33 controls were included. An analysis based on the connectivity of structural networks showed changes in FA and MD in svPPA and nfvPPA with respect to bvFTD. Much damage in the internal networks of the left temporal lobe was found in svPPA patients; in contrast, patients with nfvPPA showed atrophy in networks from the basal ganglia to motor and premotor areas. Those findings support the dual stream model of speech and language.
Project description:To evaluate the distribution of white matter (WM) disease in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer disease (AD) and to evaluate the relative usefulness of WM and gray matter (GM) for distinguishing these conditions in vivo.Patients were classified as having FTLD (n = 50) or AD (n = 42) using autopsy-validated CSF values of total-tau:?-amyloid (t-tau:A?(1-42)) ratios. Patients underwent WM diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and volumetric MRI of GM. We employed tract-specific analyses of WM fractional anisotropy (FA) and whole-brain GM density analyses. Individual patient classification was performed using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves with FA, GM, and a combination of the 2 modalities.Regional FA and GM were significantly reduced in FTLD and AD relative to healthy seniors. Direct comparisons revealed significantly reduced FA in the corpus callosum in FTLD relative to AD. GM analyses revealed reductions in anterior temporal cortex for FTLD relative to AD, and in posterior cingulate and precuneus for AD relative to FTLD. ROC curves revealed that a multimodal combination of WM and GM provide optimal classification (area under the curve = 0.938), with 87% sensitivity and 83% specificity.FTLD and AD have significant WM and GM defects. A combination of DTI and volumetric MRI modalities provides a quantitative method for distinguishing FTLD and AD in vivo.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Module (FTLD-MOD) includes a neuropsychological battery designed to assess the clinical features of FTLD, although much is unknown about its utility. We investigated FTLD-MOD and Uniform Data Set 3.0 (UDS) language tests for differential diagnosis and disease monitoring.<h4>Methods</h4>Linear regressions compared baseline performances in 1655 National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center participants (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD, n = 612), semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA, n = 168), non-fluent/agrammatic variant PPA (nfvPPA, n = 168), logopenic variant PPA (lvPPA, n = 109), and controls (n = 581)). Sample sizes to detect treatment effects were estimated using longitudinal data.<h4>Results</h4>Among PPAs, the FTLD-MOD language tasks and UDS Multilingual Naming Test accurately discriminated svPPA. Number Span Forward best discriminated lvPPA; Phonemic:Semantic Fluency ratio was excellent for nfvPPA classification. UDS fluency and naming measures required the smallest sample size to detect meaningful change.<h4>Discussion</h4>The FTLD-MOD and UDS differentiated among PPA subtypes. UDS 3.0 measures performed best for longitudinal monitoring.
Project description:Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is most commonly associated with TAR-DNA binding protein (TDP-43) or tau pathology at autopsy, but there are no in vivo biomarkers reliably discriminating between sporadic cases. As disease-modifying treatments emerge, it is critical to accurately identify underlying pathology in living patients so that they can be entered into appropriate etiology-directed clinical trials. Patients with tau inclusions (FTLD-TAU) appear to have relatively greater white matter (WM) disease at autopsy than those patients with TDP-43 (FTLD-TDP). In this paper, we investigate the ability of white matter (WM) imaging to help discriminate between FTLD-TAU and FTLD-TDP during life using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).Patients with autopsy-confirmed disease or a genetic mutation consistent with FTLD-TDP or FTLD-TAU underwent multimodal T1 volumetric MRI and diffusion weighted imaging scans. We quantified cortical thickness in GM and fractional anisotropy (FA) in WM. We performed Eigenanatomy, a statistically robust dimensionality reduction algorithm, and used leave-one-out cross-validation to predict underlying pathology. Neuropathological assessment of GM and WM disease burden was performed in the autopsy-cases to confirm our findings of an ante-mortem GM and WM dissociation in the neuroimaging cohort.ROC curve analyses evaluated classification accuracy in individual patients and revealed 96% sensitivity and 100% specificity for WM analyses. FTLD-TAU had significantly more WM degeneration and inclusion severity at autopsy relative to FTLD-TDP.These neuroimaging and neuropathological investigations provide converging evidence for greater WM burden associated with FTLD-TAU, and emphasise the role of WM neuroimaging for in vivo discrimination between FTLD-TAU and FTLD-TDP.
Project description:art may signal emotions independently of a biological or social carrier: it might therefore constitute a test case for defining brain mechanisms of generic emotion decoding and the impact of disease states on those mechanisms. This is potentially of particular relevance to diseases in the frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) spectrum. These diseases are often led by emotional impairment despite retained or enhanced artistic interest in at least some patients. However, the processing of emotion from art has not been studied systematically in FTLD. Here we addressed this issue using a novel emotional valence matching task on abstract paintings in patients representing major syndromes of FTLD (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, n=11; sematic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), n=7; nonfluent variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA), n=6) relative to healthy older individuals (n=39). Performance on art emotion valence matching was compared between groups taking account of perceptual matching performance and assessed in relation to facial emotion matching using customised control tasks. Neuroanatomical correlates of art emotion processing were assessed using voxel-based morphometry of patients' brain MR images. All patient groups had a deficit of art emotion processing relative to healthy controls; there were no significant interactions between syndromic group and emotion modality. Poorer art emotion valence matching performance was associated with reduced grey matter volume in right lateral occopitotemporal cortex in proximity to regions previously implicated in the processing of dynamic visual signals. Our findings suggest that abstract art may be a useful model system for investigating mechanisms of generic emotion decoding and aesthetic processing in neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:22q11.2 Microdeletion Syndrome (22q11DS) is a highly penetrant genetic mutation associated with a significantly increased risk for psychosis. Aberrant neurodevelopment may lead to inappropriate neural circuit formation and cerebral dysconnectivity in 22q11DS, which may contribute to symptom development. Here we examined: (1) differences between 22q11DS participants and typically developing controls in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures within white matter tracts; (2) whether there is an altered age-related trajectory of white matter pathways in 22q11DS; and (3) relationships between DTI measures, social cognition task performance, and positive symptoms of psychosis in 22q11DS and typically developing controls. Sixty-four direction diffusion weighted imaging data were acquired on 65 participants (36 22q11DS, 29 controls). We examined differences between 22q11DS vs. controls in measures of fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD), using both a voxel-based and region of interest approach. Social cognition domains assessed were: Theory of Mind and emotion recognition. Positive symptoms were assessed using the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes. Compared to typically developing controls, 22q11DS participants showed significantly lower AD and RD in multiple white matter tracts, with effects of greatest magnitude for AD in the superior longitudinal fasciculus. Additionally, 22q11DS participants failed to show typical age-associated changes in FA and RD in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Higher AD in the left inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO) and left uncinate fasciculus was associated with better social cognition in 22q11DS and controls. In contrast, greater severity of positive symptoms was associated with lower AD in bilateral regions of the IFO in 22q11DS. White matter microstructure in tracts relevant to social cognition is disrupted in 22q11DS, and may contribute to psychosis risk.