Brain atrophy patterns in patients with frontotemporal dementia: voxel-based morphometry

Akhmadullina DR1, Konovalov RN1, Shpilyukova YuA1, Grishina DA2,3, Berdnikovich ES1, Fomenko SS1, Fedotova EYu1, Illarioshkin SN1
About authors

1 Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia

2 Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia

3 Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed: Dilyara R. Akhmadullina
Volokolamskoye shosse, 80, Moscow, 125367; moc.liamg@1rdanilludamhka

About paper

Funding: the study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant № 19-015-00533).

Author contribution: Akhmadullina DR — clinical assessment, data analysis and interpretation, literature analysis, manuscript writing; Konovalov RN — data analysis and interpretation, study planning and management; Shpilyukova YuA, Grishina DA — clinical assessment, manuscript draft preparation; Berdnikovich ES — clinical assessment; Fomenko SS — data analysis and interpretation, literature analysis, manuscript writing; Fedotova EYu — study planning and management; Illarioshkin SN — study planning and management.

Received: 2020-10-21 Accepted: 2020-11-18 Published online: 2020-12-08

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by language and behaviour deficits, which is considered the second most common cause of early-onset dementia. Detection of brain atrophy patterns is important for FTD diagnosis. However, the visual assessment of magnetic resonance imaging data may not be sensitive enough requiring the use of objective gray matter (GM) volume determination method. The study was aimed to assess the GM atrophy pattern in patients with FTD compared to control group patients using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). The study included 16 patients with FTD (12 patients with nonfluent agrammatic variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA), three patients with behavioral variant of FTD, and one patient with logopenic variant PPA) and 10 healthy volunteers. VBM of patients with FTD and healthy controls revealed three significant (pFWE-corr < 0.05) atrophy areas in the left inferior frontal, left fusiform, and left supramarginal gyri. Taking into account the predominance of patients with nfvPPA in the group of FTD patients, the additional VBM of this group and control group was carried out, which revealed a distinct atrophy pattern: the reduced GM volume was detected in the left inferior frontal and left middle frontal gyri (pFWE-corr < 0.05). The results obtained indicate that regardless of the clinical variant, there is a certain atrophy pattern characteristic of FTD, which involves both frontotemporal areas and parietal lobe. The example of nfvPPA shows that each variant of the disease is associated with distinct localization of atrophy.

Keywords: frontotemporal dementia, voxel-based morphometry, primary progressive aphasia, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia