We aimed to determine whether network-level functional connectivity differs in two clinical variants of Alzheimer’s disease: logopenic primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) and dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT). Twenty-four lvPPA subjects with amyloid deposition on PET and task-free fMRI were matched to 24 amyloid-positive DAT subjects and 24 amyloid-negative controls. Independent-component analysis and spatial-temporal dual-regression were used to assess functional connectivity within the language network, left and right working memory networks and ventral default mode network. lvPPA showed reduced connectivity in left temporal language network and inferior parietal and prefrontal regions of the left working memory network compared to controls and DAT. Both groups showed reduced connectivity in parietal regions of the right working memory network compared to controls. Only DAT showed reduced ventral default mode network connectivity compared to controls. Aphasia severity correlated with connectivity in left working memory network within lvPPA. Patterns of network dysfunction differ across these two clinical variants of Alzheimer’s disease, with lvPPA particularly associated with disruptions in the language and left working memory networks.
Alzheimer’s disease; primary progressive aphasia; language; MRI; functional imaging
Logopenic primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) is a progressive language disorder characterized by anomia, difficulty repeating complex sentences, and phonological errors. The majority, although not all, lvPPA patients have underlying Alzheimer’s disease. We aimed to determine whether clinical or neuroimaging features differ according to the deposition of Aβ on Pittsburgh-compound B PET in lvPPA. Clinical features, patterns of atrophy on MRI, hypometabolism on FDG-PET, and white matter tract degeneration were compared between six PiB-negative and 20 PiB-positive lvPPA patients. PiB-negative patients showed more asymmetric left-sided patterns of atrophy, hypometabolism and white matter tract degeneration, with greater left anteromedial temporal and medial prefrontal involvement, than PiB-positive patients. PiB-positive patients showed greater involvement of right temporoparietal and frontal lobes. There was very little evidence for clinical differences between the groups. Strikingly asymmetric neuroimaging findings with relatively preserved right hemisphere may provide clues that AD pathology is absent in lvPPA.
logopenic; primary progressive aphasia; Pittsburgh Compound B; magnetic resonance imaging; FDG-PET; progranulin; beta-amyloid
This study summarizes 2 illustrative cases of a neurodegenerative speech disorder, primary progressive apraxia of speech (AOS), as a vehicle for providing an overview of the disorder and an approach to describing and quantifying its perceptual features and some of its temporal acoustic attributes.
Two individuals with primary progressive AOS underwent speech-language and neurologic evaluations on 2 occasions, ranging from 2.0 to 7.5 years postonset. Performance on several tests, tasks, and rating scales, as well as several acoustic measures, were compared over time within and between cases. Acoustic measures were compared with performance of control speakers.
Both patients initially presented with AOS as the only or predominant sign of disease and without aphasia or dysarthria. The presenting features and temporal progression were captured in an AOS Rating Scale, an Articulation Error Score, and temporal acoustic measures of utterance duration, syllable rates per second, rates of speechlike alternating motion and sequential motion, and a pairwise variability index measure.
AOS can be the predominant manifestation of neurodegenerative disease. Clinical ratings of its attributes and acoustic measures of some of its temporal characteristics can support its diagnosis and help quantify its salient characteristics and progression over time.
Classifying primary progressive aphasia (PPA) into variants that may predict the underlying pathology is important. However, some PPA patients cannot be classified. A 78-year-old woman had unclassifiable PPA characterized by anomia, dysarthria and apraxia of speech without agrammatism. MRI revealed left mesial temporal atrophy and 18-flourodeoxy-glucose PET showed left anterior temporal and posterior frontal (premotor) hypometabolism. Autopsy revealed a mixed tauopathy (argyrophilic grain disease) and TAR-DNA-binding-protein-43 proteinopathy. Dual pathologies may explain the difficulty classifying some PPA patients and recognizing this will be important as new imaging techniques (particularly tau-PET) are introduced and patients begin enrollment in clinical trials targeting the underlying proteinopathy.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; primary progressive aphasia; argyrophilic grain disease; tau; TDP 43
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
Beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition can be observed in primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and progressive apraxia of speech (PAOS). While it is typically associated with logopenic PPA, there are exceptions that make predicting Aβ status challenging based on clinical diagnosis alone. We aimed to determine whether MRI regional volumes or clinical data could help predict Aβ deposition. One hundred and thirty-nine PPA (n = 97; 15 agrammatic, 53 logopenic, 13 semantic and 16 unclassified) and PAOS (n = 42) subjects were prospectively recruited into a cross-sectional study and underwent speech/language assessments, 3.0 T MRI and C11-Pittsburgh Compound B PET. The presence of Aβ was determined using a 1.5 SUVR cut-point. Atlas-based parcellation was used to calculate gray matter volumes of 42 regions-of-interest across the brain. Penalized binary logistic regression was utilized to determine what combination of MRI regions, and what combination of speech and language tests, best predicts Aβ (+) status. The optimal MRI model and optimal clinical model both performed comparably in their ability to accurately classify subjects according to Aβ status. MRI accurately classified 81% of subjects using 14 regions. Small left superior temporal and inferior parietal volumes and large left Broca's area volumes were particularly predictive of Aβ (+) status. Clinical scores accurately classified 83% of subjects using 12 tests. Phonological errors and repetition deficits, and absence of agrammatism and motor speech deficits were particularly predictive of Aβ (+) status. In comparison, clinical diagnosis was able to accurately classify 89% of subjects. However, the MRI model performed well in predicting Aβ deposition in unclassified PPA. Clinical diagnosis provides optimum prediction of Aβ status at the group level, although regional MRI measurements and speech and language testing also performed well and could have advantages in predicting Aβ status in unclassified PPA subjects.
•We examine whether MRI or clinical data can predict Aβ deposition in PPA and PAOS.•MRI and clinical data accurately classified 81% and 83% of subjects, respectively.•Small superior temporal gyri and phonological errors best predicted Aβ deposition.•In comparison, clinical diagnosis accurately classified 89% of subjects.•MRI and clinical data could predict discordant svPPA, lvPPA and unclassified cases.
Beta-amyloid; Primary progressive aphasia; Apraxia of speech; Volumetric MRI
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
Progressive apraxia of speech (AOS) can result from neurodegenerative disease and can occur in isolation or in the presence of agrammatic aphasia. We aimed to determine the neuroanatomical and metabolic correlates of progressive AOS and aphasia. Thirty-six prospectively recruited subjects with progressive AOS or agrammatic aphasia, or both, underwent the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) and Token Test to assess aphasia, an AOS rating scale (ASRS), 3T MRI and 18-F fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET. Correlations between clinical measures and imaging were assessed. The only region that correlated to ASRS was left superior premotor volume. In contrast, WAB and Token Test correlated with hypometabolism and volume of a network of left hemisphere regions, including pars triangularis, pars opercularis, pars orbitalis, middle frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, precentral gyrus and inferior parietal lobe. Progressive agrammatic aphasia and AOS have non-overlapping regional correlations, suggesting that these are dissociable clinical features that have different neuroanatomical underpinnings.
apraxia of speech; aphasia; atrophy; Broca’s area; premotor cortex; hypometabolism
This study summarizes two illustrative cases of a neurodegenerative speech disorder, primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS), as a vehicle for providing an overview of the disorder and an approach to describing and quantifying its perceptual features and some of its temporal acoustic attributes.
Two individuals with PPAOS underwent speech-language and neurologic evaluations on two occasions, ranging from 2 to 7.5 years post onset. Performance on several tests, tasks and rating scales, as well as several acoustic measures, were compared over time within and between cases. Acoustic measures were compared to performance of control speakers.
Both cases initially presented with AOS as the only or predominant sign of disease, and without aphasia or dysarthria. The presenting features and temporal progression were captured in an AOS Rating Scale, an Articulation Error Score, and temporal acoustic measures of utterance duration, syllable rates per second, rates of speech-like alternating motion and sequential motion rates, and a pairwise variability index measure.
AOS can be the predominant manifestation of neurodegenerative disease. Clinical ratings of its attributes and acoustic measures of some of its temporal characteristics can support its diagnosis and help quantify its salient characteristics and progression over time.
apraxia of speech; primary progressive apraxia of speech; primary progressive aphasia
Apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (APOE4) is a risk factor for
β-amyloid deposition in Alzheimer’s dementia. Its influence
on β-amyloid deposition in speech and language disorders, including
primary progressive aphasia (PPA), is unclear.
One hundred and thirty subjects with PPA or speech apraxia underwent
APOE genotyping and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET scanning. The
relationship between APOE4 and PiB status, as well as severity and regional
distribution of PiB, was assessed.
Forty-five subjects had an APOE4 allele and 60 subjects were
PiB-positive. The odds ratio for a subject with APOE4 being PiB-positive
compared to a subject without APOE4 being PiB-positive was 10.2
(4.4–25.5, p<0.0001). APOE4 status did not influence
regional PiB distribution or severity.
APOE4 increases the risk of β-amyloid deposition in PPA and
speech apraxia, but does not influence regional β-amyloid
distribution or severity.
Apolipoprotein; Pittsburgh Compound B; primary progressive aphasia; logopenic aphasia; speech apraxia
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
Josephs et al. use a multi-modal approach to assess neuroanatomical and clinical changes over time in primary progressive apraxia of speech. They demonstrate that progressive atrophy of cortex, basal ganglia and midbrain accompanies the clinical progression, including the emergence of progressive supranuclear palsy five years post-onset in some subjects.
Primary progressive apraxia of speech is a recently described neurodegenerative disorder in which patients present with an isolated apraxia of speech and show focal degeneration of superior premotor cortex. Little is known about how these individuals progress over time, making it difficult to provide prognostic estimates. Thirteen subjects with primary progressive apraxia of speech underwent two serial comprehensive clinical and neuroimaging evaluations 2.4 years apart [median age of onset = 67 years (range: 49–76), seven females]. All underwent detailed speech and language, neurological and neuropsychological assessments, and magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography at both baseline and follow-up. Rates of change of whole brain, ventricle, and midbrain volumes were calculated using the boundary-shift integral and atlas-based parcellation, and rates of regional grey matter atrophy were assessed using tensor-based morphometry. White matter tract degeneration was assessed on diffusion-tensor imaging at each time-point. Patterns of hypometabolism were assessed at the single subject-level. Neuroimaging findings were compared with a cohort of 20 age, gender, and scan-interval matched healthy controls. All subjects developed extrapyramidal signs. In eight subjects the apraxia of speech remained the predominant feature. In the other five there was a striking progression of symptoms that had evolved into a progressive supranuclear palsy-like syndrome; they showed a combination of severe parkinsonism, near mutism, dysphagia with choking, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy or slowing, balance difficulties with falls and urinary incontinence, and one was wheelchair bound. Rates of whole brain atrophy (1.5% per year; controls = 0.4% per year), ventricular expansion (8.0% per year; controls = 3.3% per year) and midbrain atrophy (1.5% per year; controls = 0.1% per year) were elevated (P ≤ 0.001) in all 13, compared to controls. Increased rates of brain atrophy over time were observed throughout the premotor cortex, as well as prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, basal ganglia and midbrain, while white matter tract degeneration spread into the splenium of the corpus callosum and motor cortex white matter. Hypometabolism progressed over time in almost all subjects. These findings demonstrate that some subjects with primary progressive apraxia of speech will rapidly evolve and develop a devastating progressive supranuclear palsy-like syndrome ∼ 5 years after onset, perhaps related to progressive involvement of neocortex, basal ganglia and midbrain. These findings help improve our understanding of primary progressive apraxia of speech and provide some important prognostic guidelines.
non-fluent speech; parkinsonism; progressive supranuclear palsy; disease progression; magnetic resonance imaging
Most subjects with logopenic primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) have beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition on Pittsburgh Compound B PET (PiB-PET), usually affecting prefrontal and temporoparietal cortices, with less occipital involvement.
To assess clinical and imaging features in lvPPA subjects with unusual topographic patterns of Aβ deposition with highest uptake in occipital lobe.
Thirty-three lvPPA subjects with Aβ deposition on PiB-PET were included in this case-control study. Line-plots of regional PiB uptake were created, including frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions, for each subject. Subjects in which the line sloped downwards in occipital lobe (lvPPA-low), representing low uptake, were separated from those where the line sloped upwards in occipital lobe (lvPPA-high), representing unusually high occipital uptake compared to other regions. Clinical variables, atrophy on MRI, hypometabolism on F18-fluorodeoxyglucose PET, and presence and distribution of microbleeds and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) were assessed.
Seventeen subjects (52%) were classified as lvPPA-high. Mean occipital PiB uptake in lvPPA-high was higher than all other regions, and higher than all regions in lvPPA-low. The lvPPA-high subjects performed more poorly on cognitive testing, including executive and visuospatial testing, but the two groups did not differ in aphasia severity. Proportion of microbleeds and WMH was higher in lvPPA-high than lvPPA-low. Parietal hypometabolism was greater in lvPPA-high than lvPPA-low.
Unusually high occipital Aβ deposition is associated with widespread cognitive impairment and different imaging findings in lvPPA. These findings help explain clinical heterogeneity in lvPPA, and suggest that Aβ influences severity of overall cognitive impairment but not aphasia.
We aimed to assess associations between clinical, imaging, pathological and genetic features and frontal lobe asymmetry in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Volumes of the left and right dorsolateral, medial and orbital frontal lobes were measured in 80 bvFTD subjects and subjects were classified into three groups according to the degree of asymmetry (asymmetric left, asymmetric right, symmetric) using cluster analysis. The majority of subjects were symmetric (65%), with 20% asymmetric left and 15% asymmetric right. There were no clinical differences across groups, although there was a trend for greater behavioral dyscontrol in right asymmetric compared to left asymmetric subjects. More widespread atrophy involving the parietal lobe was observed in the symmetric group. Genetic features differed across groups with symmetric frontal lobes associated with C9ORF72 and tau mutations, while asymmetric frontal lobes were associated with progranulin mutations. These findings therefore suggest that neuroanatomical patterns of frontal lobe atrophy in bvFTD are influenced by specific gene mutations.
Frontotemporal dementia; frontal lobes; MRI; asymmetry; microtubule associated protein tau; progranulin; C9ORF72; pathology
Neuroimaging has played an important role in the characterization of the frontotemporal dementia (FTD) syndromes, demonstrating neurodegenerative signatures that can aid in the differentiation of FTD from other neurodegenerative disorders. Recent advances have been driven largely by the refinement of the clinical syndromes that underlie FTD, and by the discovery of new genetic and pathological features associated with FTD. Many new imaging techniques and modalities are also now available that allow the assessment of other aspects of brain structure and function, such as diffusion tensor imaging and resting state functional MRI. Studies have utilized these recent techniques, as well as traditional volumetric MRI, to provide further insight into disease progression across the many clinical, genetic and pathological variants of FTD. Importantly, neuroimaging signatures have been identified that will improve the clinician’s ability to predict underlying genetic and pathological features, and hence ultimately improve patient diagnosis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Resting-state functional MRI; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia; semantic dementia; agrammatic; apraxia of speech; C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat; progranulin; tau; TDP-43; fused in Sarcoma; atrophy; white matter tracts; functional connectivity
Atypical variants of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been pathologically defined based on the distribution of neurofibrillary tangles; hippocampal sparing (HpSp) AD shows minimal involvement of the hippocampus and limbic predominant (LP) AD shows neurofibrillary tangles restricted to the medial temporal lobe. We aimed to determine whether MRI patterns of atrophy differ across HpSp AD, LP AD and typical AD, and whether imaging could be a useful predictor of pathological subtype during life.
In this case-control study, we identified 177 patients who had been prospectively followed in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, were demented during life, had AD pathology at autopsy (Braak stage ≥ IV, intermediate-high probability AD) and an antemortem MRI. Cases were assigned to one of three pathological subtypes (HpSp n=19, typical n=125, or LP AD n=33) based on neurofibrillary tangle counts and their ratio in association cortices to hippocampus, without reference to neuronal loss. Voxel-based morphometry and atlas-based parcellation were used to compare patterns of grey matter loss across groups, and to controls.
The severity of medial temporal and cortical grey matter atrophy differed across subtypes. The most severe medial temporal atrophy was observed in LP AD, followed by typical AD, and then HpSp AD. Conversely, the most severe cortical atrophy was observed in HpSp AD, followed by typical AD, and then LP AD. A ratio of hippocampal-to-cortical volume provided the best discrimination across all three AD subtypes. The majority of typical AD (98/125;78%) and LP AD (31/33;94%) subjects, but only 8/19 (42%) of the HpSp AD subjects, presented with a dominant amnestic syndrome.
Patterns of atrophy on MRI differ across the pathological subtypes of AD, suggesting that MR regional volumetrics reliably track the distribution of neurofibrillary tangle pathology and can predict pathological subtype during life.
US National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging)
To determine whether MRI measurements observed in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI; convenience-sample) differ from those observed in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA; population-based sample).
Comparison of two samples.
59 recruiting sites for the ADNI in US/Canada, and the MCSA, a population-based cohort in Olmsted County, MN.
Cognitively normal (CN) subjects and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) subjects were selected from the ADNI convenience cohort and MCSA population-based cohort. Two samples were selected; the first was a simple random sample of subjects from both cohorts in the same age range, and the second applied matching for age, sex, education, apolipoprotein E genotype, and Mini-Mental State Examination.
Main outcome measures
Baseline hippocampal volumes and annual percent decline in hippocampal volume.
In the population-based sample, MCSA subjects were older, less educated, performed worse on MMSE, and less often had family history of AD than ADNI subjects. Baseline hippocampal volumes were larger in ADNI compared to MCSA CN subjects in the random sample, although no differences were observed after matching. Rates of decline in hippocampal volume were greater in ADNI compared to MCSA for both CN and aMCI, even after matching.
Rates of decline in hippocampal volume suggest that ADNI subjects have more aggressive brain pathology than MCSA subjects, and hence may not be representative of the general population. These findings have implications for treatment trials that employ ADNI-like recruitment mechanisms and for studies validating new diagnostic criteria for AD in its various stages.
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
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.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is associated with pathological changes along the dentatorubrothalamic tract and in premotor cortex. We aimed to assess whether functional neural connectivity is disrupted along this pathway in PSP, and to determine how functional changes relate to changes in structure and diffusion. Eighteen probable PSP subjects and 18 controls had resting-state (task-free) fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging and structural MRI. Functional connectivity was assessed between thalamus and the rest of the brain, and within the basal ganglia, salience and default mode networks (DMN). Patterns of atrophy were assessed using voxel-based morphometry, and patterns of white matter tract degeneration were assessed using tract-based spatial statistics. Reduced in-phase functional connectivity was observed between the thalamus and premotor cortex including supplemental motor area (SMA), striatum, thalamus and cerebellum in PSP. Reduced connectivity in premotor cortex, striatum and thalamus were observed in the basal ganglia network and DMN, with subcortical salience network reductions. Tract degeneration was observed between cerebellum and thalamus and in superior longitudinal fasciculus, with grey matter loss in frontal lobe, premotor cortex, SMA and caudate. SMA functional connectivity correlated with SMA volume and measures of cognitive and motor dysfunction, while thalamic connectivity correlated with degeneration of superior cerebellar peduncles. PSP is therefore associated with disrupted thalamocortical connectivity that is associated with degeneration of the dentatorubrothalamic tract and the presence of cortical atrophy.
Resting state fMRI; functional connectivity; white matter tracts; atrophy; dentatorubrothalamic tract
Imaging biomarkers are useful outcome measures in treatment trials. We compared sample size estimates for future treatment trials performed over 6 or 12-months in progressive supranuclear palsy using both imaging and clinical measures. We recruited 16 probable progressive supranuclear palsy patients that underwent baseline, 6 and 12 month brain scans, and 16 age-matched controls with serial scans. Disease severity was measured at each time-point using the progressive supranuclear palsy rating scale. Rates of ventricular expansion and rates of atrophy of the whole brain, superior frontal lobe, thalamus, caudate and midbrain were calculated. Rates of atrophy and clinical decline were used to calculate sample sizes required to power placebo-controlled treatment trials over 6 and 12-months. Rates of whole brain, thalamus and midbrain atrophy, and ventricular expansion, were increased over 6 and 12-months in progressive supranuclear palsy compared to controls. The progressive supranuclear palsy rating scale increased by 9 points over 6-months, and 18 points over 12-months. The smallest sample size estimates for treatment trials over 6-months were achieved using rate of midbrain atrophy, followed by rate of whole brain atrophy and ventricular expansion. Sample size estimates were further reduced over 12-month intervals. Sample size estimates for the progressive supranuclear palsy rating scale were worse than imaging measures over 6-months, but comparable over 12-months. Atrophy and clinical decline can be detected over 6-months in progressive supranuclear palsy. Sample size estimates suggest that treatment trials could be performed over this interval, with rate of midbrain atrophy providing the best outcome measure.
Progressive supranuclear palsy; atrophy; midbrain; power calculations; short interval
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.