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
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
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.
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
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
Repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are an important cause of both motor neuron disease (MND) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Currently, little is known about factors that could account for the phenotypic heterogeneity detected in C9ORF72 expansion carriers. In this study, we investigated four genes that could represent genetic modifiers: ataxin-2 (ATXN2), non-imprinted in Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome 1 (NIPA1), survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) and survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2). Assessment of these genes, in a unique cohort of 331 C9ORF72 expansion carriers and 376 controls, revealed that intermediate repeat lengths in ATXN2 possibly act as disease modifier in C9ORF72 expansion carriers; no evidence was provided for a potential role of NIPA1, SMN1 or SMN2. The effects of intermediate ATXN2 repeats were most profound in probands with MND or FTD/MND (2.1% versus 0% in controls, P=0.013), whereas the frequency in probands with FTD was identical to controls. Though intermediate ATXN2 repeats were already known to be associated with MND risk, previous reports did not focus on individuals with clear pathogenic mutations, such as repeat expansions in C9ORF72. Based on our present findings, we postulate that intermediate ATXN2 repeat lengths may render C9ORF72 expansion carriers more susceptible to the development of MND; further studies are needed, however, to validate our findings.
C9ORF72; ataxin-2; ATXN2; motor neuron disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; disease modifier
Clinical and neuropathological characteristics associated with G4C2 repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72), the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia, are highly variable. To gain insight on the molecular basis for the heterogeneity among C9ORF72 mutation carriers, we evaluated associations between features of disease and levels of two abundantly expressed “c9RAN proteins” produced by repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation of the expanded repeat. For these studies, we took a departure from traditional immunohistochemical approaches and instead employed immunoassays to quantitatively measure poly(GP) and poly(GA) levels in cerebellum, frontal cortex, motor cortex, and/or hippocampus from 55 C9ORF72 mutation carriers [12 patients with ALS, 24 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and 19 with FTLD with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND)]. We additionally investigated associations between levels of poly(GP) or poly(GA) and cognitive impairment in 15 C9ORF72 ALS patients for whom neuropsychological data were available. Among the neuroanatomical regions investigated, poly(GP) levels were highest in the cerebellum. In this same region, associations between poly(GP) and both neuropathological and clinical features were detected. Specifically, cerebellar poly(GP) levels were significantly lower in patients with ALS compared to patients with FTLD or FTLD-MND. Furthermore, cerebellar poly(GP) associated with cognitive score in our cohort of 15 patients. In the cerebellum, poly(GA) levels similarly trended lower in the ALS subgroup compared to FTLD or FTLD-MND subgroups, but no association between cerebellar poly(GA) and cognitive score was detected. Both cerebellar poly(GP) and poly(GA) associated with C9ORF72 variant 3 mRNA expression, but not variant 1 expression, repeat size, disease onset, or survival after onset. Overall, these data indicate that cerebellar abnormalities, as evidenced by poly(GP) accumulation, associate with neuropathological and clinical phenotypes, in particular cognitive impairment, of C9ORF72 mutation carriers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-015-1474-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72 repeat expansion; c9RAN proteins; Cognition; Dipeptide repeat proteins; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neuropathological diagnosis; Repeat-associated non-ATG translation
To determine ways to improve diagnostic accuracy of multiple system atrophy (MSA), we assessed the diagnostic process in patients who came to autopsy with antemortem diagnosis of MSA by comparing clinical and pathologic features between those who proved to have MSA and those who did not. We focus on likely explanations for misdiagnosis.
This is a retrospective review of 134 consecutive patients with an antemortem clinical diagnosis of MSA who came to autopsy with neuropathologic evaluation of the brain. Of the 134 patients, 125 had adequate medical records for review. Clinical and pathologic features were compared between patients with autopsy-confirmed MSA and those with other pathologic diagnoses, including dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson disease (PD), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).
Of the 134 patients with clinically diagnosed MSA, 83 (62%) had the correct diagnosis at autopsy. Pathologically confirmed DLB was the most common misdiagnosis, followed by PSP and PD. Despite meeting pathologic criteria for intermediate to high likelihood of DLB, several patients with DLB did not have dementia and none had significant Alzheimer-type pathology. Autonomic failure was the leading cause of misdiagnosis in DLB and PD, and cerebellar ataxia was the leading cause of misdiagnosis in PSP.
The diagnostic accuracy for MSA was suboptimal in this autopsy study. Pathologically confirmed DLB, PD, and PSP were the most common diseases to masquerade as MSA. This has significant implications not only for patient care, but also for research studies in MSA cases that do not have pathologic confirmation.
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 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 PSP GWAS 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 oligodendrocytic protein).
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