Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) encompasses a collection of clinically and pathologically diverse neurological disorders. Clinical features of behavioural and language dysfunction are associated with neurodegeneration, predominantly of frontal and temporal cortices. Over the past decade there has been significant advances in the understanding of the genetic aetiology and neuropathology of FTD which have led to the creation of various disease models to investigate the molecular pathways that contribute to disease pathogenesis. The generation of in vivo models of FTD involves either targeting genes with known disease-causative mutations such as GRN and C9orf72 or genes encoding proteins that form the inclusions that characterise the disease pathologically, such as TDP-43 and FUS. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the different in vivo model systems used to understand pathomechanisms in FTD, with a focus on disease models which reproduce aspects of the wide-ranging behavioural phenotypes seen in people with FTD. We discuss the emerging disease pathways that have emerged from these in vivo models and how this has shaped our understanding of disease mechanisms underpinning FTD. We also discuss the challenges of modelling the complex clinical symptoms shown by people with FTD, the confounding overlap with features of motor neuron disease, and the drive to make models more disease-relevant. In summary, in vivo models can replicate many pathological and behavioural aspects of clinical FTD, but robust and thorough investigations utilising shared features and variability between disease models will improve the disease-relevance of findings and thus better inform therapeutic development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-80
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2018


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