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.
Relating clinical symptoms to neuroanatomical profiles of brain damage and ultimately to tissue pathology is a key challenge in the field of neurodegenerative disease and particularly relevant to the heterogeneous disorders that comprise the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum. Here we present a retrospective analysis of clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (volumetric and voxel-based morphometric) features in a pathologically ascertained cohort of 95 cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration classified according to contemporary neuropathological criteria. Forty-eight cases (51%) had TDP-43 pathology, 42 (44%) had tau pathology and five (5%) had fused-in-sarcoma pathology. Certain relatively specific clinicopathological associations were identified. Semantic dementia was predominantly associated with TDP-43 type C pathology; frontotemporal dementia and motoneuron disease with TDP-43 type B pathology; young-onset behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with FUS pathology; and the progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome with progressive supranuclear palsy pathology. Progressive non-fluent aphasia was most commonly associated with tau pathology. However, the most common clinical syndrome (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) was pathologically heterogeneous; while pathologically proven Pick's disease and corticobasal degeneration were clinically heterogeneous, and TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with similar clinical features in cases with and without progranulin mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, voxel-based morphometry and cluster analyses of the pathological groups here suggested a neuroanatomical framework underpinning this clinical and pathological diversity. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration-associated pathologies segregated based on their cerebral atrophy profiles, according to the following scheme: asymmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (TDP-43 type C); relatively symmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (microtubule-associated protein tau mutations); strongly asymmetric, distributed atrophy (Pick's disease); relatively symmetric, predominantly extratemporal atrophy (corticobasal degeneration, fused-in-sarcoma pathology). TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with substantial individual variation; however, within this group progranulin mutations were associated with strongly asymmetric, distributed hemispheric atrophy. We interpret the findings in terms of emerging network models of neurodegenerative disease: the neuroanatomical specificity of particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathologies may depend on an interaction of disease-specific and network-specific factors.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
The phenotypes of the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia and the corticobasal syndrome present considerable clinical and anatomical overlap. The respective patterns of white matter damage in these syndromes have not been directly contrasted. Beyond cortical involvement, damage to white matter pathways may critically contribute to both common and specific symptoms in both conditions. Here we assessed patients with the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia and corticobasal syndrome with whole-brain diffusion tensor imaging to identify the white matter networks underlying these pathologies. Twenty patients with the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, 19 with corticobasal syndrome, and 15 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Differences in tract integrity between (i) patients and controls, and (ii) patients with the corticobasal syndrome and the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia were assessed with whole brain tract-based spatial statistics and analyses of regions of interest. Behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia and the corticobasal syndrome shared a pattern of bilaterally decreased white matter integrity in the anterior commissure, genu and body of the corpus callosum, corona radiata and in the long intrahemispheric association pathways. Patients with the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia showed greater damage to the uncinate fasciculus, genu of corpus callosum and forceps minor. In contrast, corticobasal syndrome patients had greater damage to the midbody of the corpus callosum and perirolandic corona radiata. Whereas several compact white matter pathways were damaged in both the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia and corticobasal syndrome, the distribution and degree of white matter damage differed between them. These findings concur with the distinctive clinical manifestations of these conditions and may improve the in vivo neuroanatomical and diagnostic characterization of these disorders.
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.
Since the first description of the classical presentation of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in 1963, now known as Richardson's syndrome (PSP-RS), several distinct clinical syndromes have been associated with PSP-tau pathology. Like other neurodegenerative disorders, the severity and distribution of phosphorylated tau pathology are closely associated with the clinical heterogeneity of PSP variants. PSP with corticobasal syndrome presentation (PSP-CBS) was reported to have more tau load in the mid-frontal and inferior-parietal cortices than in PSP-RS. However, it is uncertain if differences exist in the distribution of tau pathology in other brain regions or if the overall tau load is increased in the brains of PSP-CBS.
We sought to compare the clinical and pathological features of PSP-CBS and PSP-RS including quantitative assessment of tau load in 15 cortical, basal ganglia and cerebellar regions.
In addition to the similar age of onset and disease duration, we demonstrated that the overall severity of tau pathology was the same between PSP-CBS and PSP-RS. We identified that there was a shift of tau burden towards the cortical regions away from the basal ganglia; supporting the notion that PSP-CBS is a ‘cortical’ PSP variant. PSP-CBS also had less severe neuronal loss in the dorsolateral and ventrolateral subregions of the substantia nigra and more severe microglial response in the corticospinal tract than in PSP-RS; however, neuronal loss in subthalamic nucleus was equally severe in both groups.
A better understanding of the factors that influence the selective pathological vulnerability in different PSP variants will provide further insights into the neurodegenerative process underlying tauopathies.
alien limb; corticobasal syndrome; progressive supranuclear palsy; Richardson's syndrome; tau
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) are atypical parkinsonian disorders with fronto-subcortical and posterior cognitive dysfunction as common features. While visual hallucinations are a good predictor of Lewy body pathology and are rare in CBS, they are not exhibited in all cases of DLB. Given the clinical overlap between these disorders, neuropsychological and imaging markers may aid in distinguishing these entities.
Prospectively recruited case–control cohorts of CBS (n =31) and visual hallucination-free DLB (n =30), completed neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric measures as well as brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Perfusion data were available for forty-two controls. Behavioural, perfusion, and cortical volume and thickness measures were compared between the groups to identify features that serve to differentiate them.
The Lewy body with no hallucinations group performed more poorly on measures of episodic memory compared to the corticobasal group, including the delayed and cued recall portions of the California Verbal Learning Test (F (1, 42) =23.1, P <0.001 and F (1, 42) =14.0, P =0.001 respectively) and the delayed visual reproduction of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (F (1, 36) =9.7, P =0.004). The Lewy body group also demonstrated reduced perfusion in the left occipital pole compared to the corticobasal group (F (1,57) =7.4, P =0.009). At autopsy, the Lewy body cases all demonstrated mixed dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease and small vessel arteriosclerosis, while the corticobasal cases demonstrated classical corticobasal degeneration in five, dementia with agyrophilic grains + corticobasal degeneration + cerebral amyloid angiopathy in one, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in two, and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration-Ubiquitin/TAR DNA-binding protein 43 proteinopathy in one. MRI measures were not significantly different between the patient groups.
Reduced perfusion in the left occipital region and worse episodic memory performance may help to distinguish between DLB cases who have never manifested with visual hallucinations and CBS at earlier stages of the disease. Development of reliable neuropsychological and imaging markers that improve diagnostic accuracy will become increasingly important as disease modifying therapies become available.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous syndrome, characterized by progressive decline in behaviour or language associated with degeneration of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes. While the seminal cases were described at the turn of the 20th century, FTLD has only recently been appreciated as a leading cause of dementia, particularly in patients presenting before the age of 65 years. Three distinct clinical variants of FTLD have been described: (i) behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia, characterized by changes in behaviour and personality in association with frontal-predominant cortical degeneration; (ii) semantic dementia, a syndrome of progressive loss of knowledge about words and objects associated with anterior temporal neuronal loss; and (iii) progressive nonfluent aphasia, characterized by effortful language output, loss of grammar and motor speech deficits in the setting of left perisylvian cortical atrophy.
The majority of pathologies associated with FTLD clinical syndromes include either tau-positive (FTLD-TAU) or TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)-positive (FTLD-TDP) inclusion bodies. FTLD overlaps clinically and pathologically with the atypical parkinsonian disorders corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy, and with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The majority of familial FTLD cases are caused by mutations in the genes encoding microtubule-associated protein tau (leading to FTLD-TAU) or progranulin (leading to FTLD-TDP). The clinical and pathologic heterogeneity of FTLD poses a significant diagnostic challenge, and in vivo prediction of underlying histopathology can be significantly improved by supplementing the clinical evaluation with genetic tests and emerging biological markers. Current pharmacotherapy for FTLD focuses on manipulating serotonergic or dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems to ameliorate behavioural or motor symptoms. However, recent advances in FTLD genetics and molecular pathology make the prospect of biologically driven, disease-specific therapies for FTLD seem closer than ever.
OBJECTIVE—To analyse the natural history and
survival of corticobasal degeneration by investigating the clinical
features of 14 cases confirmed by postmortem examination.
METHODS—Patients with definite corticobasal
degeneration were selected from the research and clinical files of
seven tertiary medical centres in Austria, the United Kingdom, and the
United States. Clinical features were analysed in detail.
RESULTS—The sample consisted of eight female and
six male patients; mean age at symptom onset was 63 (SD 7.7) years, and
mean disease duration was 7.9 (SD 2.6) years. The most commonly
reported symptom at onset included asymmetric limb clumsiness with or
without rigidity (50%) or tremor (21%). At the first neurological
visit, on average 3.0 (SD 1.9) years after symptom onset, the most
often encountered extrapyramidal features included unilateral limb
rigidity (79%) or bradykinesia (71%), postural imbalance (45%), and
unilateral limb dystonia (43%). Ideomotor apraxia (64%), and to a
lesser extent cortical dementia (36%), were the most common cortical signs present at the first visit. During the course of the disease, virtually all patients developed asymmetric or unilateral akinetic rigid parkinsonism and a gait disorder. No patient had a dramatic response to levodopa therapy. Median survival time after onset of
symptoms was 7.9 (SD 0.7) (range, 2.5-12.5) years, and, after the
first clinic visit, 4.9 (SD 0.7) (range, 0.8-10) years. Early bilateral bradykinesia, frontal syndrome, or two out of tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia, predicted a shorter survival.
CONCLUSION—The results confirm that
unilateral parkinsonism unresponsive to levodopa and limb ideomotor
apraxia are the clinical hallmarks of corticobasal degeneration, and
only a minority of patients with corticobasal degeneration present with
dementia. The study also suggests that a focal cognitive and
extrapyramidal motor syndrome is indicative of corticobasal
degeneration. Survival in corticobasal degeneration was shortened by
the early presence of (more) widespread parkinsonian features or
frontal lobe 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.
To investigate the cognitive and neural basis for nonfluent speech in progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA).
Nonfluent speech is the hallmark feature of PNFA, and this has been attributed to impairments in syntactic processing, motor-speech planning, and executive functioning that also occur in these patients. Patients with PNFA have left inferior frontal atrophy.
A large semi-structured speech sample and neuropsychological measures of language and executive functioning were examined in 16 patients with PNFA, 12 patients with behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), and 13 age-matched controls. Speech fluency was quantified as words per minute (WPM) in the semi-structured speech sample. Stepwise linear regression analyses were used to relate WPM to grammatic, motor-speech planning, and executive aspects of patient functioning. These measures were then related to cortical thickness in 8 patients with PNFA and 7 patients with bvFTD using structural MRI.
WPM was significantly reduced in patients with PNFA relative to controls and patients with bvFTD. Regression analyses revealed that only grammatic measures predicted WPM in PNFA, whereas executive measures were the only significant predictor of WPM in bvFTD. Cortical thinning was significant in PNFA relative to controls in left inferior frontal and anterior-superior temporal regions, and a regression analysis related this area to reduced WPM in PNFA. Significant cortical thinning associated with limited grammatic processing also was seen in the left inferior frontal-superior temporal region in PNFA, and this overlapped with the area of frontal-temporal thinning related to reduced WPM.
Nonfluent speech in PNFA may be due in part to difficulty with grammatic processing associated with left inferior frontal and anterior-superior temporal disease.
= apraxia of speech;
= anterior superior temporal cortex;
= behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal degeneration;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= inferior frontal cortex;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= progressive supranuclear palsy;
= words per minute.
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
We sought to describe the antemortem clinical and neuroimaging features among patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-TDP).
Subjects were recruited from a consecutive series of patients with a primary neuropathologic diagnosis of FTLD-TDP and antemortem MRI. Twenty-eight patients met entry criteria: 9 with type 1, 5 with type 2, and 10 with type 3 FTLD-TDP. Four patients had too sparse FTLD-TDP pathology to be subtyped. Clinical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging features of these cases were reviewed. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess regional gray matter atrophy in relation to a group of 50 cognitively normal control subjects.
Clinical diagnosis varied between the groups: semantic dementia was only associated with type 1 pathology, whereas progressive nonfluent aphasia and corticobasal syndrome were only associated with type 3. Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease were seen in type 2 or type 3 pathology. The neuroimaging analysis revealed distinct patterns of atrophy between the pathologic subtypes: type 1 was associated with asymmetric anterior temporal lobe atrophy (either left- or right-predominant) with involvement also of the orbitofrontal lobes and insulae; type 2 with relatively symmetric atrophy of the medial temporal, medial prefrontal, and orbitofrontal-insular cortices; and type 3 with asymmetric atrophy (either left- or right-predominant) involving more dorsal areas including frontal, temporal, and inferior parietal cortices as well as striatum and thalamus. No significant atrophy was seen among patients with too sparse pathology to be subtyped.
FTLD-TDP subtypes have distinct clinical and neuroimaging features, highlighting the relevance of FTLD-TDP subtyping to clinicopathologic correlation.
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= false discovery rate;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions;
= fused in sarcoma;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= motor neuron disease;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa;
= University of California, San Francisco;
= voxel-based morphometry.
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
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.
A GGGGCC repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene was recently identified as a major cause of familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. There is suggestion that these expansions may be a rare cause of parkinsonian disorders such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Screening the C9orf72 gene in 37 patients with features of corticobasal syndrome (CBS) detected an expansion in 3 patients, confirmed by Southern blotting. In a series of 22 patients with clinically diagnosed PSP, we found 1 patient with an intermediate repeat length. We also screened for the C9orf72 expansion in a large series of neuropathologically confirmed samples with MSA (n = 96), PSP (n = 177), and CBD (n = 18). Patients were found with no more than 22 GGGGCC repeats. Although these results still need to be confirmed in a larger cohort of CBS and/or CBD patients, these data suggest that in the presence of a family history and/or motor neuron disease features, patients with CBS or clinical PSP should be screened for the C9orf72 repeat expansion. In addition, we confirm that the C9orf72 expansions are not associated with pathologically confirmed MSA, PSP, or CBD in a large series of cases.
C9orf72; Parkinsonism; Multiple system atrophy (MSA); Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP); Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and corticobasal syndrome (CBS)
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
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
Midbrain atrophy is a characteristic feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), although it is unclear whether it is associated with the PSP syndrome (PSPS) or PSP pathology. We aimed to determine whether midbrain atrophy is a useful biomarker of PSP pathology, or whether it is only associated with typical PSPS.
We identified all autopsy-confirmed subjects with the PSP clinical phenotype (i.e. PSPS) or PSP pathology and a volumetric MRI. Of 24 subjects with PSP pathology, 11 had a clinical diagnosis of PSPS (PSP-PSPS), and 13 had a non-PSPS clinical diagnosis (PSP-other). Three subjects had PSPS and corticobasal degeneration pathology (CBD-PSPS). Healthy control and disease control groups (i.e. a group without PSPS or PSP pathology) and a group with CBD pathology and corticobasal syndrome (CBD-CBS) were selected. Midbrain area was measured in all subjects.
Midbrain area was reduced in each group with clinical PSPS (with and without PSP pathology). The group with PSP pathology and non-PSPS clinical syndromes did not show reduced midbrain area. Midbrain area was smaller in the subjects with PSPS compared to those without PSPS (p<0.0001), with an area under the receiver-operator-curve of 0.99 (0.88,0.99). A midbrain area cut-point of 92 mm2 provided optimum sensitivity (93%) and specificity (89%) for differentiation.
Midbrain atrophy is associated with the clinical presentation of PSPS, but not with the pathological diagnosis of PSP in the absence of the PSPS clinical syndrome. This finding has important implications for the utility of midbrain measurements as diagnostic biomarkers for PSP pathology.
Progressive supranuclear palsy; tau; neuropathology; MRI; midbrain
The microtubule-binding protein, tau, is the major component of neurofibrillary inclusions characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative tauopathies. When tau fibrillizes, it undergoes abnormal post-translational modifications resulting in decreased solubility and altered microtubule-stabilizing properties. Recently, we reported that the abnormal acetylation of tau at lysine residue 280 is a novel, pathological post-translational modification. Here, we performed detailed immunohistochemistry to further examine acetylated-tau expression in Alzheimer's disease and other major tauopathies. Immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal antibody specific for acetylated-tau at lysine 280 was conducted on 30 post-mortem central nervous system regions from patients with Alzheimer's disease (10 patients), corticobasal degeneration (5 patients), and progressive supranuclear palsy (5 patients). Acetylated-tau pathology was compared with the sequential emergence of other tau modifications in the Alzheimer's disease hippocampus using monoclonal antibodies to multiple well-characterized tau epitopes. All cases studied showed significant acetylated-tau pathology in a distribution pattern similar to hyperphosphorylated-tau. Acetylated-tau pathology was largely in intracellular, thioflavin-S-positive tau inclusions in Alzheimer's disease, and also thioflavin-S-negative pathology in corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy. Acetylated-tau was present throughout all stages of Alzheimer's disease pathology, but was more prominently associated with pathological tau epitopes in moderate to severe-stage cases. These temporal and morphological immunohistochemical features suggest acetylation of tau at this epitope is preceded by early modifications, including phosphorylation, and followed by later truncation events and cell death in Alzheimer's disease. Acetylation of tau at lysine 280 is a pathological modification that may contribute to tau-mediated neurodegeneration by both augmenting losses of normal tau properties (reduced solubility and microtubule assembly) as well as toxic gains of function (increased tau fibrillization). Thus, inhibiting tau acetylation could be a disease-modifying target for drug discovery target in tauopathies.
Alzheimer's disease; tauopathy; acetylation; post-translational modification; tau
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
Primary progressive apraxia of speech, a motor speech disorder of planning and programming is a tauopathy that has overlapping histological features with progressive supranuclear palsy. We aimed to compare, for the first time, atrophy patterns, as well as white matter tract degeneration, between these two syndromes.
Sixteen primary progressive apraxia of speech subjects were age and gender-matched to 16 progressive supranuclear palsy subjects and 20 controls. All subjects were prospectively recruited, underwent neurological and speech evaluations, and 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging. Grey and white matter atrophy was assessed using voxel-based morphometry and atlas-based parcellation, and white matter tract degeneration was assessed using diffusion tensor imaging.
All progressive supranuclear palsy subjects had typical occulomotor/gait impairments but none had speech apraxia. Both syndromes showed grey matter loss in supplementary motor area, white matter loss in posterior frontal lobes and degeneration of the body of the corpus callosum. While lateral grey matter loss was focal, involving superior premotor cortex, in primary progressive apraxia of speech, loss was less focal extending into prefrontal cortex in progressive supranuclear palsy. Caudate volume loss and tract degeneration of superior cerebellar peduncles was also observed in progressive supranuclear palsy. Interestingly, area of the midbrain was reduced in both syndromes compared to controls, although this was greater in progressive supranuclear palsy.
Although neuroanatomical differences were identified between these distinctive clinical syndromes, substantial overlap was also observed, including midbrain atrophy, suggesting these two syndromes may have common pathophysiological underpinnings.
Progressive supranuclear palsy; apraxia of speech; voxel-based morphometry; diffusion tensor imaging; midbrain
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
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.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin and TDP-43 positive neuronal inclusions represents a novel entity (FTLD-TDP) that may be associated with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND); involvement of extrapyramidal and other systems has also been reported.
We present three cases with similar clinical symptoms, including Parkinsonism, supranuclear gaze palsy, visuospatial impairment and a behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, associated with either clinically possible or definite MND. Neuropathological examination revealed hallmarks of FTLD-TDP with major involvement of subcortical and, in particular, mesencephalic structures. These cases differed in onset and progression of clinical manifestations as well as distribution of histopathological changes in the brain and spinal cord. Two cases were sporadic, whereas the third case had a pathological variation in the progranulin gene 102 delC.
Association of a "progressive supranuclear palsy-like" syndrome with marked visuospatial impairment, motor neuron disease and early behavioral disturbances may represent a clinically distinct phenotype of FTLD-TDP. Our observations further support the concept that TDP-43 proteinopathies represent a spectrum of disorders, where preferential localization of pathogenetic inclusions and neuronal cell loss defines clinical phenotypes ranging from frontotemporal dementia with or without motor neuron disease, to corticobasal syndrome and to a progressive supranuclear palsy-like syndrome.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) manifests with progressive memory loss and decline of spatial awareness and motor skills. Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) represent one of the pathological hallmarks of AD. Previous studies suggest that the enzyme prolyl-peptidyl cis–trans isomerase PIN1 [protein interacting with NIMA (never in mitosis A)-1] recognizes hyperphosphorylated tau (in NFTs) and facilitates its dephosphorylation, thereby recovering its function. This study aims to determine the frequency, severity and distribution of PIN1 immunoreactivity and its relationship to NFTs and other neuropathological markers of neurodegeneration such as amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and transcription-responsive DNA-binding protein of Mr 43 kDa (TDP-43). Immunohistochemical analysis of 194 patients (46 with AD, 43 with Parkinson’s disease/dementia with Lewy bodies, 12 with progressive supranuclear palsy/corticobasal degeneration, 36 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, 21 with motor neuron disease and 34 non-demented (ND) individuals) revealed an increased frequency and severity of PIN1 immunoreactive inclusions in AD as compared to all diagnostic groups (P < 0.001). The hippocampal and cortical distribution of PIN1 granules was distinct from that of NFTs, Aβ and TDP-43 pathologies, though the frequency of neurons with PIN1 immunoreactivity increased with increasing NFT pathology. There was a progressive increase in PIN1 changes in ND individuals as the degree of AD-type pathological changes increased. Present findings indicate that PIN1 changes are a constant feature of AD pathology and could serve as a biomarker of the onset or spread of AD neuropathology independent of tau or Aβ.
Alzheimer’s disease; PIN1; Neurofibrillary tangles; Neurodegeneration; Dementia