Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and conditions that overlap with it can be accompanied by motor speech disorders. Recognition and understanding of motor speech disorders can contribute to a fuller clinical understanding of PPA and its management as well as its localization and underlying pathology.
To review the types of motor speech disorders that may occur with PPA, its primary variants, and its overlap syndromes (progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome, corticobasal syndrome, motor neuron disease), as well as with primary progressive apraxia of speech.
The review should assist clinicians' and researchers' understanding of the relationship between motor speech disorders and PPA and its major variants. It also highlights the importance of recognizing neurodegenerative apraxia of speech as a condition that can occur with little or no evidence of aphasia.
Motor speech disorders can occur with PPA. Their recognition can contribute to clinical diagnosis and management of PPA and to understanding and predicting the localization and pathology associated with PPA variants and conditions that can overlap with them.
primary progressive aphasia; motor speech disorders; dysarthrias; apraxia of speech; primary progressive apraxia of speech
Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting movement and cognition, definitively diagnosed only at autopsy. Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in CBD cases (n=152) and 3,311 controls, and 67 CBD cases and 439 controls in a replication stage. Associations with meta-analysis were 17q21 at MAPT (P=1.42 × 10−12), 8p12 at lnc-KIF13B-1, a long non-coding RNA (rs643472; P=3.41 × 10−8), and 2p22 at SOS1 (rs963731; P=1.76 × 10−7). Testing for association of CBD with top progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) GWAS single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified associations at MOBP (3p22; rs1768208; P=2.07 × 10−7) and MAPT H1c (17q21; rs242557; P=7.91 × 10−6). We previously reported SNP/transcript level associations with rs8070723/MAPT, rs242557/MAPT, and rs1768208/MOBP and herein identified association with rs963731/SOS1. We identify new CBD susceptibility loci and show that CBD and PSP share a genetic risk factor other than MAPT at 3p22 MOBP (myelin-associated oligodendrocyte basic protein).
Corticobasal degeneration is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that can only be definitively diagnosed by autopsy. Here, Kouri et al. conduct a genome-wide-association study and identify two genetic susceptibility loci 17q21 (MAPT) and 3p12 (MOBP), and a novel susceptibility locus at 8p12.
A subset of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) present with early and prominent language deficits. It is unclear whether the burden of underlying β-amyloid pathology is associated with language or general cognitive impairment in these subjects.
Here, we assess the relationship between cortical β-amyloid burden on [11C]Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET and performance on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), the Wechsler Memory Scale-Third Edition (WMS-III), the Boston Naming Test (BNT), and the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) using regression and correlation analyses in subjects presenting with aphasia that showed β-amyloid deposition on PiB PET.
The global PiB ratio was inversely correlated with MoCA (p = 0.02) and the WMS-III Visual Reproduction (VR) subtest (VR I, p = 0.02; VR II, p = 0.04). However, the correlations between PiB ratio, BNT (p = 0.13), WAB aphasia quotient (p = 0.11), and WAB repetition scores (p = 0.34) were not significant.
This study demonstrates that an increased cortical β-amyloid burden is associated with cognitive impairment, but not language deficits, in AD subjects presenting with aphasia. The results suggest that β-amyloid deposition may partly contribute to impaired cognition in such patients while language dysfunction may be influenced by other pathologic mechanisms, perhaps downstream pathways of β-amyloid deposition.
Dementia; Aphasia; PET; Beta-amyloid; PiB
Widespread deposition of TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43), a major protein inclusion commonly found in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can also be seen in a subset of cases with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Some of these AD cases have TDP-43 immunoreactivity in basal ganglia (BG) and substantia nigra (SN), regions that when affected can be associated with parkinsonian signs or symptoms, or even features suggestive of frontotemporal dementia. Here, we examined the presence of clinical features of FTLD, parkinsonian signs and symptoms, and BG atrophy on MRI, in 51 pathologically confirmed AD cases (Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage IV–VI) with widespread TDP-43 deposition, with and without BG and SN involvement. All 51 cases had presented with progressive cognitive impairment with prominent memory deficits. None of the patients demonstrated early behavioral disinhibition, apathy, loss of empathy, stereotyped behavior, hyperorality, and/or executive deficits. Furthermore, TDP-43 deposition in BG or SN had no significant association with tremor (p = 0.80), rigidity (p = 0.19), bradykinesia (p = 0.19), and gait/postural instability (p = 0.39). Volumes of the BG structures were not associated with TDP-43 deposition in the BG. The present study demonstrates that TDP-43 deposition in pathologically confirmed AD cases is not associated with a clinical manifestation suggestive of FTLD, or parkinsonian features.
TDP-43; Alzheimer’s disease; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinsonism
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a complex disorder characterised by a broad range of clinical manifestations, differential pathological signatures, and genetic variability. Mutations in three genes—MAPT, GRN, and C9orf72—have been associated with FTD. We sought to identify novel genetic risk loci associated with the disorder.
We did a two-stage genome-wide association study on clinical FTD, analysing samples from 3526 patients with FTD and 9402 healthy controls. All participants had European ancestry. In the discovery phase (samples from 2154 patients with FTD and 4308 controls), we did separate association analyses for each FTD subtype (behavioural variant FTD, semantic dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, and FTD overlapping with motor neuron disease [FTD-MND]), followed by a meta-analysis of the entire dataset. We carried forward replication of the novel suggestive loci in an independent sample series (samples from 1372 patients and 5094 controls) and then did joint phase and brain expression and methylation quantitative trait loci analyses for the associated (p<5 × 10−8) and suggestive single-nucleotide polymorphisms.
We identified novel associations exceeding the genome-wide significance threshold (p<5 × 10−8) that encompassed the HLA locus at 6p21.3 in the entire cohort. We also identified a potential novel locus at 11q14, encompassing RAB38/CTSC, for the behavioural FTD subtype. Analysis of expression and methylation quantitative trait loci data suggested that these loci might affect expression and methylation incis.
Our findings suggest that immune system processes (link to 6p21.3) and possibly lysosomal and autophagy pathways (link to 11q14) are potentially involved in FTD. Our findings need to be replicated to better define the association of the newly identified loci with disease and possibly to shed light on the pathomechanisms contributing to FTD.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Aging, the Wellcome/ MRC Centre on Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
The aim of this study was to determine whether the TAR DNA-binding
protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) independently has any effect on the clinical and
neuroimaging features typically ascribed to Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
pathology, and whether TDP-43 pathology could help shed light on the phenomenon
of resilient cognition in AD. Three-hundred forty-two subjects pathologically
diagnosed with AD were screened for the presence, burden and distribution of
TDP-43. All had been classified as cognitively impaired or normal, prior to
death. Atlas-based parcellation and voxel-based morphometry were used to assess
regional atrophy on MRI. Regression models controlling for age at death,
apolipoprotein ε4 and other AD-related pathologies were utilized to
explore associations between TDP-43 and cognition or brain atrophy, stratified
by Braak stage. Additionally, we determined whether the effects of TDP-43 were
mediated by hippocampal sclerosis. One-hundred ninety-five (57%) cases
were TDP-positive. After accounting for age, apolipoprotein ε4, and
other pathologies, TDP-43 had a strong effect on cognition, memory loss, and
medial temporal atrophy in AD. These effects were not mediated by hippocampal
sclerosis. TDP-positive subjects were 10× more likely to be cognitively
impaired at death compared to TDP-negative subjects. Greater cognitive
impairment and medial temporal atrophy were associated with greater TDP-43
burden and more extensive TDP-43 distribution. TDP-43 is an important factor in
the manifestation of the clinico-imaging features of AD. TDP-43 also appears to
be able to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. TDP-43
therefore should be considered a potential therapeutic target for the treatment
TDP-43; Alzheimer disease; resilience; APOE ε4; Braak stage; MRI
The goal of this study was to explore the prevalence of nonverbal oral apraxia (NVOA), its association with other forms of apraxia, and associated imaging findings in patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and progressive apraxia of speech (PAOS).
Patients with a degenerative speech or language disorder were prospectively recruited and diagnosed with a subtype of PPA or with PAOS. All patients had comprehensive speech and language examinations. Voxel-based morphometry was performed to determine whether atrophy of a specific region correlated with the presence of NVOA.
Eighty-nine patients were identified, of which 34 had PAOS, 9 had agrammatic PPA, 41 had logopenic aphasia, and 5 had semantic dementia. NVOA was very common among patients with PAOS but was found in patients with PPA as well. Several patients exhibited only one of NVOA or apraxia of speech. Among patients with apraxia of speech, the severity of the apraxia of speech was predictive of NVOA, whereas ideomotor apraxia severity was predictive of the presence of NVOA in those without apraxia of speech. Bilateral atrophy of the prefrontal cortex anterior to the premotor area and supplementary motor area was associated with NVOA.
Apraxia of speech, NVOA, and ideomotor apraxia are at least partially separable disorders. The association of NVOA and apraxia of speech likely results from the proximity of the area reported here and the premotor area, which has been implicated in apraxia of speech. The association of ideomotor apraxia and NVOA among patients without apraxia of speech could represent disruption of modules shared by nonverbal oral movements and limb movements.
The purpose of this study was to identify the clinical, [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) and amyloid-PET findings in a large cohort of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) patients, to examine the neural correlates of the classic features of PCA, and to better understand the features associated with early PCA. We prospectively recruited 25 patients who presented to the Mayo Clinic between March 2013 and August 2014 and met diagnostic criteria for PCA. All patients underwent a standardized set of tests and amyloid imaging with [11C] Pittsburg compound B (PiB). Seventeen (68 %) underwent FDG-PET scanning. We divided the cohort at the median disease duration of 4 years in order to assess clinical and FDG-PET correlates of early PCA (n = 13). The most common clinical features were simultanagnosia (92 %), dysgraphia (68 %), poly-mini-myoclonus (64 %) and oculomotor apraxia (56.5 %). On FDG-PET, hypometabolism was observed bilaterally in the lateral and medial parietal and occipital lobes. Simultanagnosia was associated with hypometabolism in the right occipital lobe and posterior cingulum, optic ataxia with hypometabolism in left occipital lobe, and oculomotor apraxia with hypometabolism in the left parietal lobe and posterior cingulate gyrus. All 25 PCA patients were amyloid positive. Simultanagnosia was the only feature present in 85 % of early PCA patients. The syndrome of PCA is associated with posterior hemisphere hypometabolism and with amyloid deposition. Many of the classic features of PCA show associated focal, but not widespread, areas of involvement of these posterior hemispheric regions. Simultanagnosia appears to be the most common and hence sensitive feature of early PCA.
PCA; FDG-PET; Cerebral hypometabolism; Clinical findings; Early PCA
To determine how well the consensus criteria could classify subjects with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) using a quantitative speech and language battery that matches the test descriptions provided by the consensus criteria.
A total of 105 participants with a neurodegenerative speech and language disorder were prospectively recruited and underwent neurologic, neuropsychological, and speech and language testing and MRI in this case-control study. Twenty-one participants with apraxia of speech without aphasia served as controls. Select tests from the speech and language battery were chosen for application of consensus criteria and cutoffs were employed to determine syndromic classification. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to examine participants who could not be classified.
Of the 84 participants, 58 (69%) could be classified as agrammatic (27%), semantic (7%), or logopenic (35%) variants of PPA. The remaining 31% of participants could not be classified. Of the unclassifiable participants, 2 clusters were identified. The speech and language profile of the first cluster resembled mild logopenic PPA and the second cluster semantic PPA. Gray matter patterns of loss of these 2 clusters of unclassified participants also resembled mild logopenic and semantic variants.
Quantitative application of consensus PPA criteria yields the 3 syndromic variants but leaves a large proportion unclassified. Therefore, the current consensus criteria need to be modified in order to improve sensitivity.
TDP-43 immunoreactivity occurs in 19–57% of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases. Two patterns of TDP-43 deposition in AD have been described involving hippocampus (Limbic) or hippocampus and neocortex (Diffuse), although focal amygdala involvement has been observed. In 195 AD cases with TDP-43, we investigated regional TDP-43 immunoreactivity with the aim of developing a TDP-43 in AD staging scheme. TDP-43 immunoreactivity was assessed in amygdala, entorhinal cortex, subiculum, hippocampal dentate gyrus, occipitotemporal, inferior temporal and frontal cortices, and basal ganglia. Clinical, neuroimaging, genetic and pathological characteristics were assessed across stages. Five stages were identified: stage I showed scant-sparse TDP-43 in the amygdala only (17%); stage II showed moderate-frequent amygdala TDP-43 with spread into entorhinal and subiculum (25%); stage III showed further spread into dentate gyrus and occipitotemporal cortex (31%); stage IV showed further spread into inferior temporal cortex (20%); and stage V showed involvement of frontal cortex and basal ganglia (7%). Cognition and medial temporal volumes differed across all stages and progression across stages correlated with worsening cognition and medial temporal volume loss. Compared to 147 AD patients without TDP-43, only the Boston Naming Test showed abnormalities in stage I. The findings demonstrate that TDP-43 deposition in AD progresses in a stereotypic manner that can be divided into five distinct topographic stages which are supported by correlations with clinical and neuroimaging features. Given these findings, we recommend sequential regional TDP-43 screening in AD beginning with the amygdala.
Alzheimer disease; TDP-43; amygdala; TDP-43 type; staging; MRI
Variants in transmembrane protein 106 B (TMEM106B) modify the disease penetrance of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in carriers of progranulin (GRN) mutations. We investigated whether TMEM106B is also a genetic modifier of disease in carriers of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) expansions. We assessed the genotype of 325 C9ORF72 expansion carriers (cohort 1), 586 FTD patients lacking C9ORF72 expansions (with or without motor neuron disease [MND]; cohort 2), and a total of 1,302 controls for TMEM106B variants (rs3173615 and rs1990622) using MassArray iPLEX and Taqman genotyping assays. For our primary analysis, we focused on functional variant rs3173615, and employed a recessive genotypic model. In cohort 1, patients with C9ORF72 expansions showed a significantly reduced frequency of carriers homozygous for the minor allele as compared to controls (11.9% versus 19.1%, odds ratio (OR): 0.57, p=0.014; same direction as carriers of GRN mutations). The strongest evidence was provided by FTD patients (OR: 0.33, p=0.009) followed by FTD/MND patients (OR: 0.38, p=0.017), whereas no significant difference was observed in MND patients (OR: 0.85, p=0.55). In cohort 2, the frequency of carriers homozygous for the minor allele was not significantly reduced in patients as compared to controls (OR: 0.77, p=0.079); however, a significant reduction was observed when focusing on those patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration and TAR DNA-binding protein 43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP; OR: 0.26, p<0.001).
Our study identifies TMEM106B as the first genetic factor modifying disease presentation in C9ORF72 expansion carriers. Homozygosity for the minor allele protects carriers from developing FTD, but not from developing MND; similar effects are seen in FTLD-TDP patients with yet unknown genetic causes. These new findings show that the protective effects of TMEM106B are not confined to carriers of GRN mutations, and might be relevant for prognostic testing, and as a promising therapeutic target for the entire spectrum of FTLD-TDP.
C9ORF72; TMEM106B; frontotemporal dementia; motor neuron disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; disease modifier
To describe speech, neurological and imaging characteristics of a series of patients presenting with progressive spastic dysarthria (PSD) as the first and predominant sign of a presumed neurodegenerative disease.
Participants were 25 patients with spastic dysarthria as the only or predominant speech disorder. Clinical features, pattern of MRI volume loss on voxel-based morphometry, and pattern of hypometabolism with F18-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) scan are described.
All patients demonstrated speech characteristics consistent with spastic dysarthria, including strained voice quality, slow speaking rate, monopitch and monoloudness, and slow and regular speech alternating motion rates. Eight patients did not have additional neurological findings on examination. Pseudobulbar affect, upper motor neuron pattern limb weakness, spasticity, Hoffman sign and positive Babinski reflexes were noted in some of the remaining patients. Twenty-three patients had electromyographic assessment and none had diffuse motor neuron disease or met El Escorial criteria for ALS. Voxel-based morphometry revealed striking bilateral white matter volume loss, , affecting the motor cortex (BA 4), including the frontoparietal operculum (BA 43) with extension into the middle cerebral peduncle. FDG-PET showed subtle hypometabolism affecting the premotor and motor cortices in some patients, particularly in those who had a disease duration longer than two years.
We have characterized a neurodegenerative disorder that begins focally with spastic dysarthria due to involvement of the motor and premotor cortex and descending corticospinal and corticobulbar pathways. We propose the descriptive label “progressive spastic dysarthria” to best capture the dominant presenting feature of the syndrome.
dysarthria; neuromuscular disease; MRI; PET
The logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) strongly associates with Alzheimer’s disease, but can also associate with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. We aimed to assess the frequency of lvPPA in patients with speech and language disorders without β-amyloid deposition, and to perform detailed neuroimaging and genetic testing in such lvPPA patients. Seventy-six patients with a neurodegenerative speech and language disorder and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET imaging demonstrating no β-amyloid deposition were analyzed. Six lvPPA patients (8 %) were identified. All six underwent progranulin (GRN) gene testing. Structural abnormality index maps and Cortex ID analysis were utilized to assess individual patterns of grey matter atrophy on MRI and hypometabolism on 18-F fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET. Statistical parametric mapping was used to perform MRI and FDG-PET group comparisons between those with (GRN-positive) and without (GRN-negative) progranulin mutations. All six lvPPA patients showed left temporoparietal atrophy and hypometabolism. Three patients (50 %) were GRN-positive. Speech, language, and neurological and neuropsychological profiles did not differ between GRN-positive and negative patients, although GRN-positive patients had family histories, were on average 8 years younger, and had lower PiB-PET ratios. All six patients showed similar patterns of atrophy and hypometabolism, although, as a group, GRN-positive patients had more severe abnormalities, particularly in anteromedial temporal lobes. Logopenic PPA accounts for a small minority of neurodegenerative speech and language disorders not associated with β-amyloid deposition. Identification of such patients, however, should prompt testing for GRN mutations, since GRN-positive patients do not have distinctive features, yet account for 50 % of this patient population.
Progranulin; Logopenic; Primary progressive aphasia; β-amyloid; MRI; FDG-PET
The left insula or Broca’s area have been proposed as the
neuroanatomical correlate for apraxia of speech (AOS) based on studies of
patients with both AOS and aphasia due to stroke. Studies of neurodegenerative
AOS suggest the premotor area and the supplementary motor areas as the
anatomical correlates. The study objective was to determine the common
infarction area in patients with pure AOS due to stroke. Patients with AOS and
no or equivocal aphasia due to ischemic stroke were identified through a
pre-existing database. Seven subjects were identified. Five had pure AOS, and
two had equivocal aphasia. MRI lesion analysis revealed maximal overlap spanning
the left premotor and motor cortices. While both neurodegenerative AOS and
stroke induced pure AOS involve the premotor cortex, further studies are needed
to establish whether stroke-induced AOS and neurodegenerative AOS share a common
Apraxia of speech; stroke; aphemia; premotor cortex
Microbleeds have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), although it is unclear whether they occur in atypical presentations of AD, such as the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA). We aimed to assess the presence and clinical correlates of microbleeds in lvPPA.
Thirteen lvPPA subjects underwent 3T T2*-weighted and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery MRI and Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) PET imaging. Microbleeds were identified on manual review and assigned a regional location. Total and regional white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden was measured.
Microbleeds were observed in four lvPPA subjects (31%); most common in frontal lobe. Subjects with microbleeds were older, more likely female, and had a greater burden of WMH than those without microbleeds. The regional distribution of microbleeds did not match the regional distribution of WMH. All cases were PiB-positive.
Microbleeds occur in approximately 1/3 subjects with lvPPA, with older women at the highest risk.
Logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia; Alzheimer’s disease; microbleeds; white matter hyperintensities
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is pathologically heterogeneous with TAR DNA binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy the most common substrate. Previous work has identified atrophy patterns across TDP-43 subtypes with Type A showing greater frontotemporal and parietal atrophy, Type C predominantly anterior temporal, and Type B predominantly posterior frontal. Despite neuroanatomical correlates of involvement, neuropsychological findings have been inconsistent. The current study utilized broader neurocognitive domains based on aggregated neuropsychological measures to distinguish between subtypes. We hypothesized that patterns of neurocognitive domain impairments would predict FTLD–TDP-43 subtype. Fifty-one patients, aged 38–87, were identified post mortem with pathologically confirmed FTLD with TDP-43. Participants were classified into subtypes A, B, or C. Patients had completed neuropsychological assessments as part of their clinical evaluation. Six cognitive domains were created: Language; Cognitive Speed; Memory; Learning; Visuoperception; and Fluency. Binary logistic regression was conducted. All but three patients could be classified as FTLD–TDP Types A, B, or C: 26 as Type A; nine as Type B; and 13 as Type C. Cognitive Speed scores were associated with Types A and C (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). Impaired performances on the Trail Making Test differentiated Types A and C. Worse Boston Naming Test and Logical Memory (Immediate) (p < 0.05) scores also increased the likelihood of Type C phenotype. Findings suggest Cognitive Speed associates with TDP-43 subtypes. Type C also demonstrated language-specific involvement. Differences between TDP-43 subtypes further supports the notion of differences in pathophysiology or topography across these types.
Cognitive speed; Dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neuropathology; Neuropsychology; TDP-43
Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease often
characterized by initial episodic memory loss. Atypical focal cortical presentations have
been described, including the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA)
which presents with language impairment, and posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) which
presents with prominent visuospatial deficits. Both lvPPA and PCA are characterized by
specific patterns of hypometabolism: left temporoparietal in lvPPA and bilateral
parietoccipital in PCA. However, not every patient fits neatly into these categories. We
retrospectively identified two patients with progressive aphasia and visuospatial deficits
from a speech and language based disorders study. The patients were further characterized
by MRI, fluorodeoxyglucose F18 and Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) positron emission
tomography. Two women, ages 62 and 69, presented with a history of a few years of
progressive aphasia characterized by fluent output with normal grammar and syntax, anomia
without loss of word meaning, and relatively spared repetition. They demonstrated striking
deficits in visuospatial function for which they were lacking insight. Prominent
hypometabolism was noted in the left occipitotemporal region and diffuse retention of PiB
was noted. Posterior cortical atrophy may present focally with left occipitotemporal
metabolism characterized clinically with a progressive fluent aphasia and prominent
ventral visuospatial deficits with loss of insight.
Alzheimer dementia; Aphasia; Functional Neuroimaging; Neuropsychology; Visual agnosia
Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are one of the key histological lesions of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and are associated with brain atrophy. We assessed regional NFT density in 30 patients with AD, 10 of which presented as the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) and 20 that presented as dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT). Regional grey matter volumes were measured using antemortem MRI. NFT density was significantly higher in left temporoparietal cortices in lvPPA compared to DAT, with no differences observed in hippocampus. There was a trend for the ratio of temporoparietal-to-hippocampal NFT density to be higher in lvPPA. The imaging findings mirrored the pathological findings, with smaller left temporoparietal volumes observed in lvPPA compared to DAT, and no differences observed in hippocampal volume. This study demonstrates that lvPPA is associated with a phenomenon of enhanced temporoparietal neurodegeneration, a finding that improves our understanding of the biological basis of lvPPA.
Primary progressive aphasia; Logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia; Alzheimer’s disease; Neurofibrillary tangles; Hippocampus; MRI; Apolipoprotein E; TDP-43; Voxel-based morphometry; Alzheimer’s dementia
The purpose of this study was to examine the association between aphasia severity and neurocognitive function, disease duration and temporoparietal atrophy in 21 individuals with the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA). We found significant correlations between aphasia severity and neurocognitive severity as well as temporoparietal atrophy; but not disease duration. Cluster analysis identified three variants of lvPPA: (1) subjects with mild aphasia and short disease duration (mild typical lvPPA); (2) subjects with mild aphasia and long disease duration (mild atypical lvPPA); and, (3) subjects with severe aphasia and relatively long disease duration (severe typical lvPPA). All three variants showed temporoparietal atrophy, with the mild atypical group showing the least atrophy despite the longest disease duration. The mild atypical group also showed mild neuropsychological impairment. The subjects with mild aphasia and neuropsychological impairment despite long disease duration may represent a slowly progressive variant of lvPPA.
Primary progressive aphasia; Logopenic aphasia; Neurocognitive impairment; Temporoparietal atrophy; Voxel-based morphometry
Primary progressive aphasia is a neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by progressive language dysfunction. The majority of primary progressive aphasia cases can be classified into three subtypes: non-fluent/agrammatic, semantic, and logopenic variants of primary progressive aphasia. Each variant presents with unique clinical features, and is associated with distinctive underlying pathology and neuroimaging findings. Unlike primary progressive aphasia, apraxia of speech is a disorder that involves inaccurate production of sounds secondary to impaired planning or programming of speech movements. Primary progressive apraxia of speech is a neurodegenerative form of apraxia of speech, and it should be distinguished from primary progressive aphasia given its discrete clinicopathological presentation. Recently, there have been substantial advances in our understanding of these speech and language disorders. Here, we review clinical, neuroimaging, and histopathological features of primary progressive aphasia and apraxia of speech. The distinctions among these disorders will be crucial since accurate diagnosis will be important from a prognostic and therapeutic standpoint.
Dementia; Primary progressive aphasia; Apraxia of speech
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
Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are currently the major genetic cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Presently, it is unknown whether expansion size affects disease severity or phenotypes.
We performed a cross-sectional Southern blot characterization study (Xpansize-72) in a cohort of subjects obtained at the Mayo Clinic and Banner Sun Health Research Institute. All subjects carried GGGGCC repeat expansions in C9ORF72, and high quality DNA was available from the frontal cortex, cerebellum and/or blood. Southern blotting techniques and densitometry were employed to estimate the repeat size of the most abundant expansion species. Comparisons of repeat sizes between tissues were made using Wilcoxon rank sum and Wilcoxon signed rank tests, and between disease subgroups using Kruskal-Wallis rank sum tests. The association of repeat size with age at onset and age at collection was evaluated using a Spearman’s test of correlation; whereas the association between repeat size and survival after disease onset was examined using Cox proportional hazards regression models.
Our cohort consisted of 84 C9ORF72 expansion carriers, including FTD patients (n=35), FTD/MND patients (n=16), MND patients (n=30), and unaffected subjects (n=3). We focused our analysis on three major tissue subgroups: frontal cortex (41 subjects [21 FTD, 11 FTD/MND, 9 MND]), cerebellum (40 subjects [20 FTD, 12 FTD/MND, 8 MND]), and blood (50 subjects [15 FTD, 9 FTD/MND, 23 MND, 3 unaffected expansion carriers]). Repeat lengths in the cerebellum were significantly smaller (median 12·3 kb [~1667 repeat units], IQR 11·1–14·3) than in the frontal cortex (median 33·8 kb [~5250 repeat units], IQR 23·5–44·9, p<0·0001), or in blood (median 18·6 kb [~2717 repeat units], IQR 13·9–28·1, p=0·0002). Within these tissues, there was no significant difference in repeat length between disease subgroups (cerebellum p=0·96, frontal cortex p=0·27, blood p=0·10). In the frontal cortex of FTD patients, repeat length correlated with age at onset (r=0·63, p=0·003) and age at collection (r=0·58, p=0·006); this correlation was not detected in the cerebellum or blood. Finally, only in the cerebellum, survival after disease onset was poorer in patients from our overall cohort with repeat lengths greater than 1467 repeat units (25th percentile, HR 3·27, 95% CI 1·34–7·95, p=0·009): the median survival was 4·8 years (IQR 3·0–7·4) in the group with longer expansions versus 7·4 years (IQR 6·3–10·9) in the group with smaller expansions.
Substantial variation in repeat size is observed between cerebellum, frontal cortex, and blood; relatively long repeat sizes in the cerebellum confer an important survival disadvantage. Our findings indicate that expansion size does affect disease severity, which could be relevant for genetic counseling.
Atypical Parkinsonism associated with white matter pathology has been described in cerebrovascular diseases, mitochondrial cytopathies, osmotic demyelinating disorders, leukoencephalopathies including leukodystrophies, and others. Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with symptomatic onset in midlife and death within a few years after symptom onset. Neuroimaging reveals cerebral white matter lesions that are pathologically characterized by non-inflammatory myelin loss, reactive astrocytosis, and axonal spheroids. Most cases are caused by mutations in the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) gene.
We studied neuropathologically verified HDLS patients with CSF1R mutations to assess Parkinsonian features. Ten families were evaluated with 16 affected individuals. During the course of the illness, all patients had at least some degree of bradykinesia. Fifteen patients had postural instability, and seven had rigidity. Two patients initially presented with Parkinsonian gait and asymmetrical bradykinesia. These two patients and two others exhibited bradykinesia, rigidity, postural instability, and tremor (two with resting) early in the course of the illness. Levodopa/carbidopa therapy in these four patients provided no benefit, and the remaining 12 patients were not treated. The mean age of onset for all patients was about 45 years (range, 18-71) and the mean disease duration was approximately six years (range, 3-11).
We also reviewed HDLS patients published prior to the CSF1R discovery for the presence of Parkinsonian features. Out of 50 patients, 37 had gait impairments, 8 rigidity, 7 bradykinesia, and 5 resting tremor. Our report emphasizes the presence of atypical Parkinsonism in HDLS due to CSF1R mutations.
HDLS; CSF1R mutation; Parkinsonism; Autosomal dominant; White matter disorders
Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are causative for frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Substantial phenotypic heterogeneity has been described in patients with these expansions. We set out to identify genetic modifiers of disease risk, age at onset, and survival after onset that may contribute to this clinical variability.
We examined a cohort of 330 C9ORF72 expansion carriers and 374 controls. In these individuals, we assessed variants previously implicated in FTD and/or MND; 36 variants were included in our analysis. After adjustment for multiple testing, our analysis revealed three variants significantly associated with age at onset (rs7018487 [UBAP1; p-value = 0.003], rs6052771 [PRNP; p-value = 0.003], and rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.003]), and six variants significantly associated with survival after onset (rs5848 [GRN; p-value = 0.001], rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.001], rs13268953 [ELP3; p-value = 0.003], the epsilon 4 allele [APOE; p-value = 0.004], rs12608932 [UNC13A; p-value = 0.003], and rs1800435 [ALAD; p-value = 0.003]).
Variants identified through this study were previously reported to be involved in FTD and/or MND, but we are the first to describe their effects as potential disease modifiers in the presence of a clear pathogenic mutation (i.e. C9ORF72 repeat expansion). Although validation of our findings is necessary, these variants highlight the importance of protein degradation, antioxidant defense and RNA-processing pathways, and additionally, they are promising targets for the development of therapeutic strategies and prognostic tests.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-38) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
C9ORF72; Frontotemporal dementia; Motor neuron disease; Genetic modifier; Repeat expansion
Mutations in profilin-1 (PFN1) have recently been
identified in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because of
the considerable overlap between ALS and the common subtype of
frontotemporal dementia, which is characterized by transactive response
DNA-binding protein 43 pathology (FTLD-TDP), we tested cohorts of ALS and
FTLD-TDP patients for PFN1 mutations.
DNA was obtained from 342 ALS patients and 141 FTLD-TDP patients at
our outpatient clinic and brain bank for neurodegenerative diseases at the
Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, USA. We screened these patients for
mutations in coding regions of PFN1 by Sanger sequencing.
Subsequently, we used TaqMan genotyping assays to investigate the identified
variant in 1167 control subjects.
One variant, p.E117G, was detected in 1 ALS patient, 1 FTLD-TDP
patient, and 2 control subjects. The mutation frequency of patients versus
control subjects was not significantly different (p-value
= 0.36). Moreover, PFN1 and TDP-43 staining of autopsy material did
not differ between patients with or without this variant.
The p.E117G variant appears to represent a benign polymorphism.
PFN1 mutations, in general, are rare in ALS and
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; profilin-1; TDP-43; genetics