Frontotemporal networks and behavioral symptoms in primary progressive aphasia

Lucio D'Anna, Marsel M Mesulam, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Flavio Dell'Acqua, Declan Murphy, Christina Wieneke, Adam Martersteck, Derin Cobia, Emily Rogalski, Marco Catani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVE: To determine if behavioral symptoms in patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) were associated with degeneration of a ventral frontotemporal network.

METHODS: We used diffusion tensor imaging tractography to quantify abnormalities of the uncinate fasciculus that connects the anterior temporal lobe and the ventrolateral frontal cortex. Two additional ventral tracts were studied: the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. We also measured cortical thickness of anterior temporal and orbitofrontal regions interconnected by these tracts. Thirty-three patients with PPA and 26 healthy controls were recruited.

RESULTS: In keeping with the PPA diagnosis, behavioral symptoms were distinctly less prominent than the language deficits. Although all 3 tracts had structural pathology as determined by tractography, significant correlations with scores on the Frontal Behavioral Inventory were found only for the uncinate fasciculus. Cortical atrophy of the orbitofrontal and anterior temporal lobe cortex was also correlated with these scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that damage to a frontotemporal network mediated by the uncinate fasciculus may underlie the emergence of behavioral symptoms in patients with PPA.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number15
Early online date18 Mar 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2016


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