OBJECTIVE--To analyse the natural history of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP or Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome) and clinical predictors of survival in 24 patients with PSP confirmed by necropsy, who fulfilled the NINDS criteria for a neuropathological diagnosis of typical PSP. METHODS--Patients were selected from the research and clinical files of seven medical centres involving tertiary centres of Austria, England, France, and the United States. Clinical features were analysed in detail. The patients' mean age at onset of PSP was 63 (range 45-73) years. RESULTS--The most frequent clinical features (occurring in at least 75% of the patients) were early postural instability and falls, vertical supranuclear palsy, akinetic-rigid predominant parkinsonian disorder characterised by symmetric bradykinesia and axial rigidity unrelieved by levodopa, pseudobulbar palsy, and frontal release signs. Occasionally, segmental dystonia or myoclonus were described, but neither aphasia nor alien limb syndrome was reported. Fractures occurred in 25% of the patients but were unrelated to the severity of the gait or to the presence of falls. Median survival time was 5.6 (range 2-16.6) years. Onset of falls during the first year, early dysphagia, and incontinence predicted a shorter survival time. Age at onset, sex, early onset of dementia, vertical supranuclear palsy, or axial rigidity had no effect on prognosis of survival. Pneumonia was the most common immediate cause of death. PSP was most often clinically misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease. Errors in diagnosis suggest that PSP is underdiagnosed. CONCLUSION--Progressive onset of early postural instability with falls or supranuclear vertical palsy in the fifth decade, should suggest the diagnosis of PSP. Onset of falls during the first year are emphasised, as they could lead to an early diagnosis and influence the prognosis of patients with PSP. Whether appropriate treatment of the dysphagia could prolong the survival of PSP patients needs to be explored.
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) is characterised by asymmetrical parkinsonism and cognitive impairment. The underlying pathology varies between corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration sometimes in association with GRN mutations. A 61-year-old male underwent neurological examination, neuropsychological assessment, MRI, and HMPAO-SPECT at our medical centre. After his death at the age of 63, brain autopsy, genetic screening and mRNA expression analysis were performed. The patient presented with slow progressive walking disabilities, non-fluent language problems, behavioural changes and forgetfulness. His family history was negative. He had primitive reflexes, rigidity of his arms and postural instability. Later in the disease course he developed dystonia of his left leg, pathological crying, mutism and dysphagia. Neuropsychological assessment revealed prominent ideomotor and ideational apraxia, executive dysfunction, non-fluent aphasia and memory deficits. Neuroimaging showed symmetrical predominant frontoparietal atrophy and hypoperfusion. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-TDP type 3 pathology was found at autopsy. GRN sequencing revealed a novel frameshift mutation c.314dup, p.Cys105fs and GRN mRNA levels showed a 50% decrease. We found a novel GRN mutation in a patient with an atypical (CBS) presentation with symmetric neuroimaging findings. GRN mutations are an important cause of CBS associated with FTLD-TDP type 3 pathology, sometimes in sporadic cases. Screening for GRN mutations should also be considered in CBS patients without a positive family history.
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS); Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); Progranulin (GRN); TDP-43
Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) can be associated with different underlying pathologies that are difficult to predict based on clinical presentation. The aim of this study was to determine whether patterns of atrophy on imaging could be useful to help predict underlying pathology in CBS.
This was a case-control study of 24 patients with CBS who had undergone MRI during life and came to autopsy. Pathologic diagnoses included frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with TDP-43 immunoreactivity in 5 (CBS-TDP), Alzheimer disease (AD) in 6 (CBS-AD), corticobasal degeneration in 7 (CBS-CBD), and progressive supranuclear palsy in 6 (CBS-PSP). Voxel-based morphometry and atlas-based parcellation were used to assess atrophy across the CBS groups and compared to 24 age- and gender-matched controls.
All CBS pathologic groups showed gray matter loss in premotor cortices, supplemental motor area, and insula on imaging. However, CBS-TDP and CBS-AD showed more widespread patterns of loss, with frontotemporal loss observed in CBS-TDP and temporoparietal loss observed in CBS-AD. CBS-TDP showed significantly greater loss in prefrontal cortex than the other groups, whereas CBS-AD showed significantly greater loss in parietal lobe than the other groups. The focus of loss was similar in CBS-CBD and CBS-PSP, although more severe in CBS-CBD.
Imaging patterns of atrophy in CBS vary according to pathologic diagnosis. Widespread atrophy points toward a pathologic diagnosis of FTLD-TDP or AD, with frontotemporal loss suggesting FTLD-TDP and temporoparietal loss suggesting AD. On the contrary, more focal atrophy predominantly involving the premotor and supplemental motor area suggests CBD or PSP pathology.
= automated anatomic labeling;
= Alzheimer disease;
= corticobasal degeneration;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes;
= false discovery rate;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= progressive supranuclear palsy;
= region of interest;
= supplemental motor area;
= TDP-43 immunoreactivity;
= total intracranial volume;
= voxel-based morphometry.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) or Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome is a neurodegenerative disease of middle and late age. It is under-diagnosed not only by general physicians but also by neurologists. The cause of PSP is not known. Exposure to toxins and viruses has been proposed in the aetiology of PSP without any concrete evidence. The features of PSP resemble those of Parkinson's disease and the two diseases are often confused. Corticobasal degeneration and multisystem atrophy are other differential diagnoses. Despite certain common features with Parkinson's disease, corticobasal degeneration, and mutisystem atrophy, there are important differences that help to differentiate it from these disorders.
Keywords: progressive supranuclear palsy; Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome
Mutation in the progranulin gene (GRN) can cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, it is unclear whether some rare FTD-related GRN variants are pathogenic and whether neurodegenerative disorders other than FTD can also be caused by GRN mutations.
To delineate the range of clinical presentations associated with GRN mutations and to define pathogenic candidacy of rare GRN variants.
Clinical and neuropathology dementia research studies at 8 academic centers.
Four hundred thirty-four patients with FTD, including primary progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, FTD/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), FTD/motor neuron disease, corticobasal syndrome/corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Pick disease, dementia lacking distinctive histopathology, and pathologically confirmed cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U); and 111 non-FTD cases (controls) in which TDP-43 deposits were a prominent neuropathological feature, including subjects with ALS, Guam ALS and/or parkinsonism dementia complex, Guam dementia, Alzheimer disease, multiple system atrophy, and argyrophilic grain disease.
Main Outcome Measures
Variants detected on sequencing of all 13 GRN exons and at least 80 base pairs of flanking introns, and their pathogenic candidacy determined by in silico and ex vivo splicing assays.
We identified 58 genetic variants that included 26 previously unknown changes. Twenty-four variants appeared to be pathogenic, including 8 novel mutations. The frequency of GRN mutations was 6.9% (30 of 434) of all FTD-spectrum cases, 21.4% (9 of 42) of cases with a pathological diagnosis of FTLD-U, 16.0% (28 of 175) of FTD-spectrum cases with a family history of a similar neurodegenerative disease, and 56.2% (9 of 16) of cases of FTLD-U with a family history.
Pathogenic mutations were found only in FTD-spectrum cases and not in other related neurodegenerative diseases. Haploinsufficiency of GRN is the predominant mechanism leading to FTD.
Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized pathologically by neuronal loss, gliosis and tau deposition in neocortex, basal ganglia and brainstem. Typical clinical presentation is known as corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and involves the core features of progressive asymmetric rigidity and apraxia, accompanied by other signs of cortical and extrapyramidal dysfunction. Asymmetry is also emphasized on neuroimaging.
To describe a series of cases of CBD with symmetric clinical features and to compare clinical and imaging features of these symmetric CBD cases (S-CBD) to typical cases of CBS with CBD pathology.
All cases of pathologically confirmed CBD from the Mayo Clinic Rochester database were identified. Clinical records were reviewed and quantitative volumetric analysis of symmetric atrophy on head MRI using atlas based parcellation was performed. Subjects were classified as S-CBD if no differences had been observed between right- and left-sided cortical or extrapyramidal signs or symptoms. S-CBD cases were compared to 10 randomly selected typical CBS cases.
Five cases (2 female) met criteria for S-CBD. None had limb dystonia, myoclonus, apraxia or alien limb phenomena. S-CBD cases had significantly less asymmetric atrophy when compared with CBS cases (p=0.009); they were also younger at onset (median 61 versus 66 years, p<0.05) and death (67 versus 73 years, p<0.05). Family history was present in 40% of S-CBD cases.
CBD can have a symmetric presentation, clinically and radiologically, in which typical features of CBS, such as limb apraxia, myoclonus, dystonia and alien limb phenomenon, may be absent.
Corticobasal degeneration; Corticobasal syndrome; Symmetric CBD; Atlas Based Parcellation; Pathology
Falls and fractures contribute to morbidity and mortality in bradykinetic rigid syndromes.
The authors performed a retrospective case notes review at the Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders and systematically explored the relation between clinical features and falls and fractures in 782 pathologically diagnosed cases (474 with Parkinson's disease (PD); 127 progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP); 91 multiple system atrophy (MSA); 46 dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); 27 vascular parkinsonism; nine Alzheimer's disease; eight corticobasal degeneration).
Falls were recorded in 606 (77.5%) and fractures in 134 (17.1%). In PD, female gender, symmetrical onset, postural instability, and autonomic instability all independently predicted time to first fall. In PD, PSP, and MSA latency to first fall was shortest in those with older age of onset of disease. Median latency from disease onset to first fall was shortest in Richardson's syndrome (12 months), MSA (42), and PSP‐parkinsonism (47), and longest in PD (108). In all patients fractures of the hip were more than twice as common as wrist and forearm fractures. Fractures of the skull, ribs, and vertebrae occurred more frequently in PSP than in other diseases.
Measures to prevent the morbidity associated with falls and fractures in bradykinetic rigid syndromes may be best directed at patients with the risk factors identified in this study.
Parkinson's disease; bradykinetic rigid syndromes; falls; fractures
Current criteria for the clinical diagnosis of pathologically confirmed corticobasal degeneration (CBD) no longer reflect the expanding understanding of this disease and its clinicopathologic correlations. An international consortium of behavioral neurology, neuropsychology, and movement disorders specialists developed new criteria based on consensus and a systematic literature review. Clinical diagnoses (early or late) were identified for 267 nonoverlapping pathologically confirmed CBD cases from published reports and brain banks. Combined with consensus, 4 CBD phenotypes emerged: corticobasal syndrome (CBS), frontal behavioral-spatial syndrome (FBS), nonfluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (naPPA), and progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome (PSPS). Clinical features of CBD cases were extracted from descriptions of 209 brain bank and published patients, providing a comprehensive description of CBD and correcting common misconceptions. Clinical CBD phenotypes and features were combined to create 2 sets of criteria: more specific clinical research criteria for probable CBD and broader criteria for possible CBD that are more inclusive but have a higher chance to detect other tau-based pathologies. Probable CBD criteria require insidious onset and gradual progression for at least 1 year, age at onset ≥50 years, no similar family history or known tau mutations, and a clinical phenotype of probable CBS or either FBS or naPPA with at least 1 CBS feature. The possible CBD category uses similar criteria but has no restrictions on age or family history, allows tau mutations, permits less rigorous phenotype fulfillment, and includes a PSPS phenotype. Future validation and refinement of the proposed criteria are needed.
To investigate dopaminergic function in a large cohort of patients with corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and describe its relationship with clinical features in comparison to Parkinson's disease and healthy control subjects. In addition, we assessed prevalence and features of individuals with CBS and in vivo evidence of preserved nigral neuronal density.
Substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) neuronal degeneration is a mandatory pathological criterion for definite corticobasal degeneration, though sporadic autopsy-proven cases with ante-mortem imaging evidence of preserved nigral terminals have been recently described.
In this multicenter study, we investigated presynaptic nigrostriatal function in 36 outpatients fulfilling clinical criteria for “probable corticobasal degeneration” (age 71±7.3 years; disease duration 3.9±1.6 years), 37 PD and 24 healthy control subjects using FP-CIT single photon emission computed tomography. Clinical, neuropsychological, and magnetic resonance imaging assessment was performed to characterize CBS patients. Linear discriminant analysis was used to categorize normal vs. pathological scans.
FP-CIT binding reduction in patients with CBS was characterized by larger variability, more uniform reduction throughout the striatum and greater hemispheric asymmetry compared to PD. Moreover, there was no significant correlation between tracer uptake values and clinical features such as disease duration and severity. Despite all CBS subjects showed obvious bilateral extrapyramidal signs, FP-CIT uptake was found to be normal bilaterally in four CBS patients and only unilaterally in other four cases. Extensive clinical, neuropsychological and imaging assessment did not reveal remarkable differences between CBS subjects with normal vs. pathological FP-CIT uptake.
Our findings support the hypothesis that extrapyramidal motor symptoms in CBS are not invariably associated with SNc neuronal degeneration and that supranigral factors may play a major role in several cases. CBS individuals with normal FP-CIT uptake do not show any clinical or cognitive feature suggesting a different pathology than CBD.
The clinical and neuroanatomical correlates of specific apraxias in neurodegenerative disease are not well understood. Here we addressed this issue in progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), a canonical subtype of frontotemporal lobar degeneration that has been consistently associated with apraxia of speech (AOS) and in some cases orofacial apraxia, limb apraxia and/or parkinsonism. Sixteen patients with PNFA according to current consensus criteria were studied. Three patients had a corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and two a progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) syndrome. Speech, orofacial and limb praxis functions were assessed using the Apraxia Battery for Adults-2 and a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis was conducted on brain MRI scans from the patient cohort in order to identify neuroanatomical correlates. All patients had AOS based on reduced diadochokinetic rate, 69% of cases had an abnormal orofacial apraxia score and 44% of cases (including the three CBS cases and one case with PSP) had an abnormal limb apraxia score. Severity of orofacial apraxia (but not AOS or limb apraxia) correlated with estimated clinical disease duration. The VBM analysis identified distinct neuroanatomical bases for each form of apraxia: the severity of AOS correlated with left posterior inferior frontal lobe atrophy; orofacial apraxia with left middle frontal, premotor and supplementary motor cortical atrophy; and limb apraxia with left inferior parietal lobe atrophy. Our findings show that apraxia of various kinds can be a clinical issue in PNFA and demonstrate that specific apraxias are clinically and anatomically dissociable within this population of patients.
Progressive nonfluent aphasia; Primary progressive aphasia; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
Patients with corticobasal degeneration (CBD) pathology present with diverse clinical syndromes also associated with other neuropathologies, including corticobasal syndrome, progressive nonfluent aphasia, and an Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Some present with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), though this subtype still requires more detailed phenotypic characterization. All patients with CBD pathology and clinical assessment were reviewed (N=17) and selected if they initially met criteria for bvFTD [bvFTD(CBD): N=5]. Available bvFTD patients with Pick’s [bvFTD(Pick’s): N=5] were selected as controls. Patients were also compared to healthy older controls [N=53] on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures. At initial presentation, bvFTD(CBD) showed few neuropsychological or motor differences from bvFTD(Pick’s). Neuropsychiatrically, they were predominantly apathetic with less florid social disinhibition and eating disturbances, and were more anxious than bvFTD(Pick’s) patients. Voxel-based morphometry revealed similar patterns of predominantly frontal atrophy between bvFTD groups, though overall degree of atrophy was less severe in bvFTD(CBD), who also showed comparative preservation of the frontoinsular rim, with dorsal > ventral frontal atrophy, and sparing of temporal and parietal structures relative to bvFTD(Pick’s) patients. Despite remarkable overlap between the two patient types, bvFTD patients with underlying CBD pathology show subtle clinical features that may distinguish them from patients with Pick’s disease neuropathology.
Corticobasal degeneration; frontotemporal dementia; behavior; neuropsychiatry; neuropsychology; neuropathology
To characterize cognitive and behavioral features, physical findings and brain atrophy patterns in pathology-proven corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and corticobasal syndrome (CBS) with known histopathology.
We reviewed clinical and MRI data in all patients evaluated at our center with either an autopsy diagnosis of CBD (n=18) or clinical CBS at first presentation with known histopathology (n=40). Atrophy patterns were compared using voxel-based morphometry.
CBD was associated with four clinical syndromes: progressive nonfluent aphasia (5), behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (5), executive-motor (7), and posterior cortical atrophy (1). Behavioral or cognitive problems were the initial symptoms in 15/18 patients; less than half exhibited early motor findings. Compared to controls, CBD patients showed atrophy in dorsal prefrontal and peri-rolandic cortex, striatum and brainstem (p<0.001 uncorrected). The most common pathologic substrates for clinical CBS were CBD (35%), Alzheimer’s disease (AD, 23%), progressive supranuclear palsy (13%), and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with TDP inclusions (13%). CBS was associated with perirolandic atrophy irrespective of underlying pathology. In CBS due to FTLD (tau or TDP), atrophy extended into prefrontal cortex, striatum and brainstem, while in CBS due to AD, atrophy extended into temporoparietal cortex and precuneus (p<0.001 uncorrected).
Frontal lobe involvement is characteristic of CBD, and in many patients frontal, not parietal or basal ganglia symptoms, dominate early-stage disease. CBS is driven by medial peri-rolandic dysfunction, but this anatomy is not specific to one single underlying histopathology. Antemortem prediction of CBD will remain challenging until clinical features of CBD are redefined, and sensitive, specific biomarkers are identified.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in patients with corticobasal degeneration typically shows focal or asymmetric atrophy, usually maximal in the frontoparietal cortex. Many patients who are diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration using current diagnostic criteria do not have classical corticobasal degeneration pathology. Our case is remarkable for the fact that the symptoms and the characteristic magnetic resonance imaging appearance were typical for corticobasal degeneration. However, we were quite convinced that the clinical picture had a vascular etiology. Only a few cases have been reported where the presumed cause for the corticobasal syndrome was multiple brain infarctions bilaterally.
A 64-year-old Caucasian man visited a neurologist because of profound asymmetric sensory and motor disturbances. A magnetic resonance imaging scan of his brain revealed occlusion of his internal carotid artery on the left side with multiple vascular lesions in his left hemisphere and notable atrophy of mainly the left parietal and frontal cortex.
We describe a patient with corticobasal syndrome caused by multiple infarctions, probably caused by emboli of the carotid stenosis. This patient illustrates the fact that the word 'syndrome' should be preferred above 'degeneration' in the name of this disease.
The clinical diagnosis of Parkinson disease (PD) is incorrect in 30% or more of subjects, particularly at the time of symptom onset. Because Lewy-type α-synucleinopathy (LTS) is present in the submandibular glands of PD patients, we assessed the feasibility of submandibular gland biopsy for diagnosing PD. We performed immunohistochemical staining for LTS in sections of large segments (simulating open biopsy) and needle cores of submandibular gland from 128 autopsied and neuropathologically classified subjects, including 28 PD, 5 incidental Lewy body disease, 5 progressive supranuclear palsy ([PSP] 3 with concurrent PD), 3 corticobasal degeneration, 2 multiple system atrophy, 22 Alzheimer disease with Lewy bodies (ADLB), 16 Alzheimer disease without Lewy bodies and 50 normal elderly. Immunoreactive nerve fibers were present in large submandibular gland sections of all 28 PD subjects (including 3 that also had PSP); 3 ADLB subjects were also positive, but none of the other subjects were positive. Cores from frozen submandibular glands taken with 18 gauge needles (total length 15–38 mm, between 10 and 118 sections per subject examined) were positive for LTS in 17 of 19 PD patients. These results suggest that biopsy of the submandibular gland may be a feasible means of improving PD clinical diagnostic accuracy. This would be particularly advantageous for subject selection in early-stage clinical trials, for invasive therapies or for verifying other biomarker studies.
α-Synuclein; Biomarker; Clinical trial; Deep brain stimulation; Gene therapy; Lewy body; Parkinson disease; Surgery; Transplantation
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is the umbrella term encompassing a heterogeneous group of pathological disorders. With recent discoveries, the FTLDs have been show to classify nicely into three main groups based on the major protein deposited in the brain: FTLD-tau, FTLD-TDP and FTLD-FUS. These pathological groups, and their specific pathologies, underlie a number of well-defined clinical syndromes, including three frontotemporal dementia (FTD) variants [behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), progressive non-fluent aphasia, and semantic dementia (SD)], progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome (PSPS) and corticobasal syndrome (CBS). Understanding the neuropathological background of the phenotypic variability in FTD, PSPS and CBS requires large clinicopathological studies. We review current knowledge on the relationship between the FTLD pathologies and clinical syndromes, and pool data from a number of large clinicopathological studies that collectively provide data on 544 cases. Strong relationships were identified as follows: FTD with motor neuron disease and FTLD-TDP; SD and FTLD-TDP; PSPS and FTLD-tau; and CBS and FTLD-tau. However, the relationship between some of these clinical diagnoses and specific pathologies is not so clear cut. In addition, the clinical diagnosis of bvFTD does not have a strong relationship to any FTLD subtype or specific pathology and therefore remains a diagnostic challenge. Some evidence suggests improved clinicopathological association of bvFTD by further refining clinical characteristics. Unlike FTLD-tau and FTLD-TDP, FTLD-FUS has been less well characterized, with only 69 cases reported. However, there appears to be some associations between clinical phenotypes and FTLD-FUS pathologies. Clinical diagnosis is therefore promising in predicting molecular pathology.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Tau; TDP-43; FUS
The volitional impairments of alien limb and apraxia are a defining feature of the corticobasal syndrome, but a limited understanding of their neurocognitive aetiology has hampered progress towards effective treatments. Here we combined several key methods to investigate the mechanism of impairments in voluntary action in corticobasal syndrome. We used a quantitative measure of awareness of action that is based on well-defined processes of motor control; structural and functional anatomical information; and evaluation against the clinical volitional disorders of corticobasal syndrome. In patients and healthy adults we measured ‘intentional binding’, the perceived temporal attraction between voluntary actions and their sensory effects. Patients showed increased binding of the perceived time of actions towards their effects. This increase correlated with the severity of alien limb and apraxia, which we suggest share a core deficit in motor control processes, through reduced precision in voluntary action signals. Structural neuroimaging analyses showed the behavioural variability in patients was related to changes in grey matter volume in pre-supplementary motor area, and changes in its underlying white matter tracts to prefrontal cortex. Moreover, changes in functional connectivity at rest between the pre-supplementary motor area and prefrontal cortex were proportional to changes in binding. These behavioural, structural and functional results converge to reveal the frontal network for altered awareness and control of voluntary action in corticobasal syndrome, and provide candidate markers to evaluate new therapies.
corticobasal syndrome; alien limb; apraxia; voluntary action; volition; pre-supplementary motor area
Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is an uncommon, sporadic, neurodegenerative disorder of mid- to late-adult life. We describe a further example of the pathologic heterogeneity of this condition. A 71-year-old woman initially presented dysarthria, clumsiness, progressive asymmetric bradykinesia, and rigidity in left arm. Rigidity gradually involved ipsilateral leg; postural instability with falls, blepharospasm, and dysphagia subsequently developed.
She has been previously diagnosed as unresponsive Parkinson's Disease. At our clinical examination, she presented left upper-arm-fixed-dystonia, spasticity in left lower limb and pyramidal signs (Babinski and Hoffmann). Brain MRI showed asymmetric cortical atrophy in the right frontotemporal cortex. Neuropsychological examination showed an impairment in visuospatial functioning, frontal-executive dysfunction, and hemineglect.
This case demonstrates that association of asymmetrical focal cortical and subcortical features remains the clinical hallmark of this condition. There are no absolute markers for the clinical diagnosis that is complicated by the variability of presentation involving also cognitive symptoms that are reviewed in the paper. Despite the difficulty of diagnosing CBD, somatosensory evoked potentials, motor evoked potentials, long latency reflexes, and correlations between results on electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) provide further support for a CBD diagnosis. These techniques are also used to identify neurophysiological correlates of the neurological signs of the disease.
Expanded GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeats in the non-coding region of the C9ORF72 gene was recently identified as being responsible for over 40% of the cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, in various extrapyramidal syndromes including supranuclear gaze palsy and corticobasal degeneration, and in addition, has been found to be a rare genetic cause of isolated Parkinsonism. To our knowledge, there is no published data concerning the neuropsychological evaluation of patients diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease related with C9ORF72 repeat expansions.
We report the results of the comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation in a newly described case in the literature (the sixth) of a patient presenting isolated idiopathic Parkinson’s disease associated with C9ORF72 repeat expansions.
The decrease in the patient’s prefrontal functions resulted in a slight decrease in global efficiency. These abnormalities did not appear to be different, with respect to the deficit observed and the intensity of the cognitive impairment, from those classically observed in cases of sporadic idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Our patient also exhibited a significant impairment in visual gnosis.
If confirmed in other patients, visuoperceptive deficits in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease could represent a red flag that should prompt the clinician to perform addition diagnostic procedures. A thorough neuropsychological assessment may prove to be useful for detecting idiopathic Parkinson’s disease in patients who are suspected of having repeat abnormalities of C9ORF72 expansions.
C9ORF72 repeat expansion; Parkinson’s disease; Cognition
Patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) often have evidence of compromised gastrointestinal motility. Ghrelin is a gut hormone that influences gastrointestinal motility in humans. The aim of this study was to determine whether ghrelin secretion is affected in MSA patients, and to investigate the relation between ghrelin secretion and gastrointestinal symptoms. Plasma levels of active ghrelin and unacylated ghrelin were measured in patients with MSA (n = 30), other atypical parkinsonian disorders including progressive supranuclear palsy-Richardson syndrome and corticobasal syndrome (n = 24), and control subjects (n = 24) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Gastrointestinal symptoms were quantified in all subjects using a self-report questionnaire. The ratio of active ghrelin to total ghrelin in the plasma (active ghrelin ratio) was lower in patients with MSA (mean: 8.0 %) than in patients with other atypical parkinsonian disorders (mean: 13.7 %, P = 0.001) and control subjects (mean: 13.9 %, P = 0.001). The active ghrelin ratio was correlated with the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms in MSA (r = −0.5, P = 0.004). Our observations indicate that ghrelin secretion is affected in patients with MSA. The low active ghrelin ratio may contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms in MSA.
Multiple system atrophy; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Corticobasal syndrome; Autonomic dysfunction; Ghrelin; Gastrointestinal symptom
both orthostatic hypotension and urinary incontinence have been
reported in a number of parkinsonian syndromes, such as Parkinson's
disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), dementia with Lewy bodies
(DLB), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and progressive supranuclear
palsy (PSP), differences in the evolution of these features have not
been studied systematically in pathologically confirmed cases.
METHODS—77 cases with
pathologically confirmed parkinsonian syndromes (PD, n=11; MSA, n=15;
DLB, n=14; CBD, n=13; PSP, n=24), collected up to 1994, formed the
basis for a multicentre clinicopathological study organised by the
NINDS to improve the differential diagnosis of parkinsonian disorders.
The present study determined the time course—that is, latency to onset
and duration from onset to death, of symptomatic orthostatic
hypotension, and urinary incontinence in the NINDS series. Furthermore,
the diagnostic validity of a predefined latency to onset within 1 year
of disease onset of symptomatic orthostatic hypotension or urinary
incontinence was analysed.
group differences for latency, but not duration, of symptomatic
orthostatic hypotension and urinary incontinence were found. Latencies
to onset of either feature were short in patients with MSA,
intermediate in patients with DLB, CBD, and PSP, and long in those with
PD. Symptomatic orthostatic hypotension occurring within the first year
after disease onset predicted MSA in 75% of cases; early urinary
incontinence was less predictive for MSA (56%).
onset, but not duration, of symptomatic orthostatic hypotension or
urinary incontinence differentiates PD from other parkinsonian
syndromes, particularly MSA.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) often overlaps clinically with corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), both of which have prominent eye movement abnormalities. To investigate the ability of oculomotor performance to differentiate between FTLD, Alzheimer's disease, CBS and PSP, saccades and smooth pursuit were measured in three FTLD subtypes, including 24 individuals with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), 19 with semantic dementia (SD) and six with progressive non-fluent aphasia (PA), as compared to 28 individuals with Alzheimer's disease, 15 with CBS, 10 with PSP and 27 control subjects. Different combinations of oculomotor abnormalities were identified in all clinical syndromes except for SD, which had oculomotor performance that was indistinguishable from age-matched controls. Only PSP patients displayed abnormalities in saccade velocity, whereas abnormalities in saccade gain were observed in PSP > CBS > Alzheimer's disease subjects. All patient groups except those with SD were impaired on the anti-saccade task, however only the FTLD subjects and not Alzheimer's disease, CBS or PSP groups, were able to spontaneously self-correct anti-saccade errors as well as controls. Receiver operating characteristic statistics demonstrated that oculomotor findings were superior to neuropsychological tests in differentiating PSP from other disorders, and comparable to neuropsychological tests in differentiating the other patient groups. These data suggest that oculomotor assessment may aid in the diagnosis of FTLD and related disorders.
oculomotor; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; corticobasal syndrome; progressive supranuclear palsy; Alzheimer's disease
Visuospatial deficits have been occasionally reported but never systematically studied in atypical parkinsonian syndromes. The interpretation of existing studies is complicated by the possible influence of motor and frontal executive deficits. Moreover, no attempt has been made to distinguish visuoperceptual from visuospatial tasks. The aim of the present study was to assess visuoperceptual and visuospatial abilities in three atypical parkinsonian syndromes while minimising the influence of confounding variables.
Twenty patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), 43 with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 25 with corticobasal degeneration (CBD) as well as 30 healthy age matched controls were examined with the Visual Object and Space Perception Battery (VOSP).
Visuospatial functions were intact in MSA patients. PSP patients showed mild deficits related to general cognitive decline and the severity of oculomotor symptoms. The CBD group showed the most pronounced deficits, with spatial tasks more impaired than object based tasks. Performance on object based, but not spatial, tasks was related to general cognitive status. The extent of the visuospatial impairment could not be predicted from disease duration or severity.
Visuospatial functions are not consistently impaired in atypical parkinsonian syndromes. The degree and pattern of impairment varies across the diseases, suggesting that the observed deficits could have a different neural basis in each condition. The distinction between the object based (“ventral stream”) and the space oriented (“dorsal stream”) processing might be useful in the interpretation of visuospatial deficits in parkinsonian syndromes, especially in CBD.
progressive supranuclear palsy; multiple system atrophy; corticobasal degeneration; visuospatial functions; cognitive assessment; dorsal and ventral stream
Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a motor speech disorder characterized by slow speaking rate, abnormal prosody and distorted sound substitutions, additions, repetitions and prolongations, sometimes accompanied by groping and trial-and error articulatory movements. Although AOS is frequently subsumed under the heading of aphasia, and indeed most often co-occurs with aphasia, it can be the predominant or even the sole manifestation of a degenerative neurologic disease. In this study we determined whether the clinical classifications of aphasia and AOS correlated with pathological diagnoses and specific biochemical and anatomical structural abnormalities. Seventeen cases with initial diagnoses of a degenerative aphasia or AOS were reclassified independently by two speech-language pathologists — blinded to pathologic and biochemical findings - into one of five operationally defined categories of aphasia and AOS. Pathological diagnoses in the 17 cases were progressive supranuclear palsy in six, corticobasal degeneration in five, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-only-immunoreactive changes in five, and Pick’s disease in one. Voxel-based morphometry and SPECT were completed, blinded to the clinical diagnoses, and clinico-imaging and clinico-pathological associations were then sought. Interjudge clinical classification reliability was 87% (κ =0.8) for all evaluations. Eleven cases had evidence of AOS, of which all (100%) had a pathological diagnosis characterized by underlying tau biochemistry, while five of the other six cases without AOS did not have tau biochemistry (p=0.001). A majority of the 17 cases had more than one yearly evaluation, demonstrating the evolution of the speech and language syndromes, as well as motor signs. Voxel-based morphometry revealed the premotor and supplemental motor cortices to be the main cortical regions associated with AOS, while the anterior peri-sylvian region was associated with non-fluent aphasia. Refining the classification of the degenerative aphasias and AOS may be necessary to improve our understanding of the relationships among behavioral, pathological, and imaging correlations.
Premotor cortex; supplementary motor cortex; progressive supranuclear palsy; apraxia of speech; aphasia
Progressive supranuclear palsy is a neurodegenerative disease which affects the brainstem and basal ganglia. Patients present with disturbance of balance, a disorder of downward gaze and L-DOPA-unresponsive parkinsonism and usually develop progressive dysphagia and dysarthria leading to death from the complications of immobility and aspiration. Treatment remains largely supportive but, potentially, treatments based on cholinergic therapy may be useful. As in Alzheimer's disease, the neuronal degeneration is associated with the deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau protein as neurofibrillary tangles but there are important distinctions between the two diseases. Evidence from familial fronto-temporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 suggests that tau protein deposition is a primary pathogenic event in some neurodegenerative diseases. The understanding of the mechanism of tau deposition in progressive supranuclear palsy is likely to be of importance in unravelling its aetiology.
Keywords: progressive supranuclear palsy; Steele-Richardson-Olszewski disease; tau protein
Visual hallucinations (VH) occur commonly in Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but are reported much less frequently in other neurodegenerative causes of parkinsonism, such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy and corticobasal degeneration syndrome. This clinical sign may be helpful when considering the differential diagnosis of patients with parkinsonism. The observation that VH may be specific to Lewy body pathology probably reflects a greater vulnerability of the visual systems to PD and DLB neurodegeneration compared with other diseases. Topographic differences in pathology are probably the major factor producing VH in Lewy body diseases, rather than neurophysiological changes that are specific to α-synuclein protein accumulation. VH correlate with pathology in the limbic system and more specifically the amygdale that is frequently affected in PD and DLB but relatively preserved in other forms of parkinsonism often misdiagnosed as PD. In this review, the published frequencies of VH in these different conditions are compared to put into context the notion of VH as a clinical clue to underlying Lewy body pathology.