Anomia is present pre-symptomatically in frontotemporal dementia due to MAPT mutations

Arabella Bouzigues, Lucy L. Russell, on behalf of the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), Georgia Peakman, Martina Bocchetta, Caroline V. Greaves, Rhian S. Convery, Emily Todd, James B. Rowe, Barbara Borroni, Daniela Galimberti, Pietro Tiraboschi, Mario Masellis, Maria Carmela Tartaglia, Elizabeth Finger, John C. van Swieten, Harro Seelaar, Lize Jiskoot, Sandro Sorbi, Chris R. ButlerCaroline Graff, Alexander Gerhard, Tobias Langheinrich, Robert Laforce, Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Alexandre de Mendonça, Fermin Moreno, Matthis Synofzik, Rik Vandenberghe, Simon Ducharme, Isabelle Le Ber, Johannes Levin, Adrian Danek, Markus Otto, Florence Pasquier, Isabel Santana, Jonathan D. Rohrer

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INTRODUCTION: A third of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is caused by an autosomal-dominant genetic mutation in one of three genes: microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT), chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) and progranulin (GRN). Prior studies of prodromal FTD have identified impaired executive function and social cognition early in the disease but few have studied naming in detail. METHODS: We investigated performance on the Boston Naming Test (BNT) in the GENetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative cohort of 499 mutation carriers and 248 mutation-negative controls divided across three genetic groups: C9orf72, MAPT and GRN. Mutation carriers were further divided into 3 groups according to their global CDR plus NACC FTLD score: 0 (asymptomatic), 0.5 (prodromal) and 1 + (fully symptomatic). Groups were compared using a bootstrapped linear regression model, adjusting for age, sex, language and education. Finally, we identified neural correlates of anomia within carriers of each genetic group using a voxel-based morphometry analysis. RESULTS: All symptomatic groups performed worse on the BNT than controls with the MAPT symptomatic group scoring the worst. Furthermore, MAPT asymptomatic and prodromal groups performed significantly worse than controls. Correlates of anomia in MAPT mutation carriers included bilateral anterior temporal lobe regions and the anterior insula. Similar bilateral anterior temporal lobe involvement was seen in C9orf72 mutation carriers as well as more widespread left frontal atrophy. In GRN mutation carriers, neural correlates were limited to the left hemisphere, and involved frontal, temporal, insula and striatal regions. CONCLUSION: This study suggests the development of early anomia in MAPT mutation carriers, likely to be associated with impaired semantic knowledge. Clinical trials focused on the prodromal period within individuals with MAPT mutations should use language tasks, such as the BNT for patient stratification and as outcome measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4322-4332
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Dementia Research Centre is supported by Alzheimer's Research UK, Alzheimer's Society, Brain Research UK, and The Wolfson Foundation. This work was supported by the NIHR UCL/H Biomedical Research Centre, the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) Clinical Research Facility, and the UK Dementia Research Institute, which receives its funding from UK DRI Ltd, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK. JDR is supported by the Miriam Marks Brain Research UK Senior Fellowship and has received funding from an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship (MR/M008525/1) and the NIHR Rare Disease Translational Research Collaboration (BRC149/NS/MH). This work was also supported by the MRC UK GENFI grant (MR/M023664/1), the Bluefield Project and the JPND GENFI-PROX grant (2019-02248). This research was supported by the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC-1215-20014). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. MB is supported by a Fellowship award from the Alzheimer’s Society, UK (AS-JF-19a-004-517). MB’s work is also supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute which receives its funding from DRI Ltd, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. RC/CG are supported by a Frontotemporal Dementia Research Studentships in Memory of David Blechner funded through The National Brain Appeal (RCN 290173). Several authors of this publication are members of the European Reference Network for Rare Neurological Diseases—Project ID No 739510. This work was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy within the framework of the Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (EXC 2145 SyNergy—ID 390857198).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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