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