Publications by authors named "Yolande Pijnenburg"

181 Publications

Early life involvement in C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2021 Apr 27. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Alzheimer Center, Department of Neurology, Location VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objectives: The chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 gene (C9orf72) hexanucleotide repeat expansion (C9orf72) is the most common genetic cause of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Since the onset of the C9orf72-associated disease is sometimes hard to define, we hypothesise that C9orf72 may cause a lifelong neuropsychiatric vulnerability. The first aim of our study was to explore lifelong behavioural and personality characteristics in C9orf72. Second, we aimed to describe distinctive characteristics of C9orf72 during disease course.

Methods: Out of 183 patients from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort that underwent genetic testing between 2011 and 2018, 20 C9orf72 bvFTD patients and 23 C9orf72 negative bvFTD patients were included. Patients and their relatives were interviewed extensively to chart their biography. Data analysis was performed through a mixed-methods approach including qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Results: Education, type of professional career and number of intimate partners were not different between carriers and non-carriers. Carriers were more often described by their relatives as having 'fixed behavioural patterns in daily life' and with limited empathy already years before onset of bvFTD symptoms. In carriers, disease course was more often characterised by excessive buying and obsessive physical exercise than in non-carriers.

Conclusion: This is the first study thoroughly exploring biographies of bvFTD patients with C9orf72, revealing that subtle personality traits may be present early in life. Our study suggests that C9orf72 exerts a lifelong neuropsychiatric vulnerability. This may strengthen hypotheses of links between neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, the presence of a distinct C9orf72 -associated syndrome within the FTD spectrum opens doors for investigation of vulnerable neuronal networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-325994DOI Listing
April 2021

CSF sTREM2 is elevated in a subset in GRN-related frontotemporal dementia.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 Mar 4. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Alzheimer Center Rotterdam and Dept. of Neurology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Excessive microglial activation might be a central pathological process in GRN-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD-GRN). We measured soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2), which is shed from disease-associated microglia following cleavage of TREM2, in cerebrospinal fluid of 34 presymptomatic and 35 symptomatic GRN mutation carriers, 6 presymptomatic and 32 symptomatic C9orf72 mutation carriers and 67 healthy noncarriers by ELISA. Although no group differences in sTREM2 levels were observed (GRN: symptomatic (median 5.2 ng/mL, interquartile range [3.9-9.2]) vs. presymptomatic (4.3 ng/mL [2.6-6.1]) vs. noncarriers (4.2 ng/mL [2.6-5.5]): p = 0.059; C9orf72: symptomatic (4.3 [2.9-7.0]) vs. presymptomatic (3.2 [2.2-4.2]) vs. noncarriers: p = 0.294), high levels were seen in a subset of GRN, but not C9orf72, mutation carriers, which might reflect differential TREM2-related microglial activation. Interestingly, 2 presymptomatic carriers with low sTREM2 levels developed symptoms after 1 year, whereas 2 with high levels became symptomatic after >5 years. While sTREM2 is not a promising diagnostic biomarker for FTD-GRN or FTD-C9orf72, further research might elucidate its potential to monitor microglial activity and predict disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.02.024DOI Listing
March 2021

Differential patterns of gray matter volumes and associated gene expression profiles in cognitively-defined Alzheimer's disease subgroups.

Neuroimage Clin 2021 Apr 3;30:102660. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Department of Neurology & Alzheimer Center, Amsterdam University Medical Center - Location VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Lund University, Clinical Memory Research Unit, Lund, Sweden. Electronic address:

The clinical presentation of Alzheimer's disease (AD) varies widely across individuals but the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this heterogeneity are largely unknown. Here, we compared regional gray matter (GM) volumes and associated gene expression profiles between cognitively-defined subgroups of amyloid-β positive individuals clinically diagnosed with AD dementia (age: 66 ± 7, 47% male, MMSE: 21 ± 5). All participants underwent neuropsychological assessment with tests covering memory, executive-functioning, language and visuospatial-functioning domains. Subgroup classification was achieved using a psychometric framework that assesses which cognitive domain shows substantial relative impairment compared to the intra-individual average across domains, which yielded the following subgroups in our sample; AD-Memory (n = 41), AD-Executive (n = 117), AD-Language (n = 33), AD-Visuospatial (n = 171). We performed voxel-wise contrasts of GM volumes derived from 3Tesla structural MRI between subgroups and controls (n = 127, age 58 ± 9, 42% male, MMSE 29 ± 1), and observed that differences in regional GM volumes compared to controls closely matched the respective cognitive profiles. Specifically, we detected lower medial temporal lobe GM volumes in AD-Memory, lower fronto-parietal GM volumes in AD-Executive, asymmetric GM volumes in the temporal lobe (left < right) in AD-Language, and lower GM volumes in posterior areas in AD-Visuospatial. In order to examine possible biological drivers of these differences in regional GM volumes, we correlated subgroup-specific regional GM volumes to brain-wide gene expression profiles based on a stereotactic characterization of the transcriptional architecture of the human brain as provided by the Allen human brain atlas. Gene-set enrichment analyses revealed that variations in regional expression of genes involved in processes like mitochondrial respiration and metabolism of proteins were associated with patterns of regional GM volume across multiple subgroups. Other gene expression vs GM volume-associations were only detected in particular subgroups, e.g., genes involved in the cell cycle for AD-Memory, specific sets of genes related to protein metabolism in AD-Language, and genes associated with modification of gene expression in AD-Visuospatial. We conclude that cognitively-defined AD subgroups show neurobiological differences, and distinct biological pathways may be involved in the emergence of these differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102660DOI Listing
April 2021

The bvFTD phenocopy syndrome: a case study supported by repeated MRI, [F]FDG-PET and pathological assessment.

Neurocase 2021 Apr 21:1-9. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A clinical syndrome with neuropsychiatric features of bvFTD without neuroimaging abnormalities and a lack of decline is a phenocopy of bvFTD (phFTD). Growing evidence suggests that psychological, psychiatric and environmental factors underlie phFTD. We describe a patient diagnosed with bvFTD prior to the revision of the diagnostic guidelines of FTD. Repeated neuroimaging was normal and there was no FTD pathology at autopsy, rejecting the diagnosis. We hypothesize on etiological factors that on hindsight might have played a role. This case report contributes to the understanding of phFTD and adds to the sparse literature of the postmortem assessment of phFTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13554794.2021.1905855DOI Listing
April 2021

Heterogeneous distribution of tau pathology in the behavioural variant of Alzheimer's disease.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2021 Apr 13. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Objective: The clinical phenotype of the rare behavioural variant of Alzheimer's disease (bvAD) is insufficiently understood. Given the strong clinico-anatomical correlations of tau pathology in AD, we investigated the distribution of tau deposits in bvAD, in-vivo and ex-vivo, using positron emission tomography (PET) and postmortem examination.

Methods: For the tau PET study, seven amyloid-β positive bvAD patients underwent [F]flortaucipir or [F]RO948 PET. We converted tau PET uptake values into standardised (W-)scores, adjusting for age, sex and mini mental state examination in a 'typical' memory-predominant AD (n=205) group. W-scores were computed within entorhinal, temporoparietal, medial and lateral prefrontal, insular and whole-brain regions-of-interest, frontal-to-entorhinal and frontal-to-parietal ratios and within intrinsic functional connectivity network templates. For the postmortem study, the percentage of AT8 (tau)-positive area in hippocampus CA1, temporal, parietal, frontal and insular cortices were compared between autopsy-confirmed patients with bvAD (n=8) and typical AD (tAD;n=7).

Results: Individual regional W-scores ≥1.96 (corresponding to p<0.05) were observed in three cases, that is, case #5: medial prefrontal cortex (W=2.13) and anterior default mode network (W=3.79), case #2: lateral prefrontal cortex (W=2.79) and salience network (W=2.77), and case #7: frontal-to-entorhinal ratio (W=2.04). The remaining four cases fell within the normal distributions of the tAD group. Postmortem AT8 staining indicated no group-level regional differences in phosphorylated tau levels between bvAD and tAD (all p>0.05).

Conclusions: Both in-vivo and ex-vivo, patients with bvAD showed heterogeneous distributions of tau pathology. Since key regions involved in behavioural regulation were not consistently disproportionally affected by tau pathology, other factors are more likely driving the clinical phenotype in bvAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-325497DOI Listing
April 2021

Gene Expression Imputation Across Multiple Tissue Types Provides Insight Into the Genetic Architecture of Frontotemporal Dementia and Its Clinical Subtypes.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 04 9;89(8):825-835. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Department of Psychiatry, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California; Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Background: The etiology of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is poorly understood. To identify genes with predicted expression levels associated with FTD, we integrated summary statistics with external reference gene expression data using a transcriptome-wide association study approach.

Methods: FUSION software was used to leverage FTD summary statistics (all FTD: n = 2154 cases, n = 4308 controls; behavioral variant FTD: n = 1337 cases, n = 2754 controls; semantic dementia: n = 308 cases, n = 616 controls; progressive nonfluent aphasia: n = 269 cases, n = 538 controls; FTD with motor neuron disease: n = 200 cases, n = 400 controls) from the International FTD-Genomics Consortium with 53 expression quantitative loci tissue type panels (n = 12,205; 5 consortia). Significance was assessed using a 5% false discovery rate threshold.

Results: We identified 73 significant gene-tissue associations for FTD, representing 44 unique genes in 34 tissue types. Most significant findings were derived from dorsolateral prefrontal cortex splicing data (n = 19 genes, 26%). The 17q21.31 inversion locus contained 23 significant associations, representing 6 unique genes. Other top hits included SEC22B (a gene involved in vesicle trafficking), TRGV5, and ZNF302. A single gene finding (RAB38) was observed for behavioral variant FTD. For other clinical subtypes, no significant associations were observed.

Conclusions: We identified novel candidate genes (e.g., SEC22B) and previously reported risk regions (e.g., 17q21.31) for FTD. Most significant associations were observed in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex splicing data despite the modest sample size of this reference panel. This suggests that our findings are specific to FTD and are likely to be biologically relevant highlights of genes at different FTD risk loci that are contributing to the disease pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.12.023DOI Listing
April 2021

Screening for cognition in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: test characteristics of a new screen.

J Neurol 2021 Feb 6. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Department of Neurology, Amsterdam UMC, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Cognitive and behavioural impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) negatively influences the quality of life and survival, and, therefore, screening for these impairments is recommended. We developed a cognitive screening tool, the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia-cognitive screen (ALS-FTD-Cog) and aimed to validate it in patients with ALS. During the current study, the Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural ALS Screen (ECAS) was published and we, therefore, decided to compare these two cognitive screening methods. The ALS-FTD-Cog was administered to 72 patients with ALS, 21 patients with behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD) and 34 healthy controls. Twenty-nine patients with ALS underwent the ECAS. ROC curve analyses were performed and sensitivity and specificity of the ALS-FTD-Cog and ECAS were calculated, with a neuropsychological examination (NPE) as the gold standard. Cognitive impairment was present in 28% of patients with ALS. ROC curve analyses of the ALS-FTD-Cog and ECAS showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.72 (95% CI 0.58-0.86) and 0.95 (95% CI 0.86-1.03), respectively. Compared to a full NPE, sensitivity and specificity of the ALS-FTD-Cog were 65.0% and 63.5% and of the ECAS 83.3% and 91.3%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the ALS-FTD-Cog in patients with bvFTD were 94.4% and 100%, respectively. Test characteristics of the ALS-FTD-Cog were moderate, suggesting restricted practical value, as compared to a comprehensive NPE. The ECAS had an excellent AUC and high sensitivity and specificity, indicating that it is a valid screening instrument for cognitive impairment in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-021-10423-xDOI Listing
February 2021

The Right Temporal Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia Is Not Genetically Sporadic: A Case Series.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;79(3):1195-1201

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia (rtvFTD) has been generally considered as a right sided variant of semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), which is a genetically sporadic disorder. Recently, we have shown that rtvFTD has a unique clinical syndrome compared to svPPA and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

Objective: We challenge the assumption that rtvFTD is a sporadic, non-familial variant of FTD by identifying potential autosomal dominant inheritance and related genes in rtvFTD.

Methods: We collected all subjects with a diagnosis of FTD or primary progressive aphasia who had undergone genetic screening (n = 284) and subsequently who had a genetic variant (n = 48) with a diagnosis of rtvFTD (n = 6) in 2 specialized memory clinics.

Results: Genetic variants in FTD related genes were found in 33% of genetically screened rtvFTD cases; including MAPT (n = 4), GRN (n = 1), and TARDBP (n = 1) genes, whereas only one svPPA case had a genetic variant in our combined cohorts. Additionally, 4 out of 6 rtvFTD subjects had a strong family history for dementia.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that rtvFTD, unlike svPPA, is not a pure sporadic, but a heterogeneous potential genetic variant of FTD, and screening for genetic causes for FTD should be performed in patients with rtvFTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7990443PMC
January 2021

Frontotemporal dementia, music perception and social cognition share neurobiological circuits: A meta-analysis.

Brain Cogn 2021 03 7;148:105660. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Alzheimer Centre Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disease that presents with profound changes in social cognition. Music might be a sensitive probe for social cognition abilities, but underlying neurobiological substrates are unclear. We performed a meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometry studies in FTD patients and functional MRI studies for music perception and social cognition tasks in cognitively normal controls to identify robust patterns of atrophy (FTD) or activation (music perception or social cognition). Conjunction analyses were performed to identify overlapping brain regions. In total 303 articles were included: 53 for FTD (n = 1153 patients, 42.5% female; 1337 controls, 53.8% female), 28 for music perception (n = 540, 51.8% female) and 222 for social cognition in controls (n = 5664, 50.2% female). We observed considerable overlap in atrophy patterns associated with FTD, and functional activation associated with music perception and social cognition, mostly encompassing the ventral language network. We further observed overlap across all three modalities in mesolimbic, basal forebrain and striatal regions. The results of our meta-analysis suggest that music perception and social cognition share neurobiological circuits that are affected in FTD. This supports the idea that music might be a sensitive probe for social cognition abilities with implications for diagnosis and monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2020.105660DOI Listing
March 2021

Reduction of GABA subunit theta-containing cortical neurons in schizophrenia.

Schizophr Res 2021 Feb 24;228:611-613. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Pathology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam University Medical Centres, location VUmc, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2020.11.037DOI Listing
February 2021

Investigating the clinico-anatomical dissociation in the behavioral variant of Alzheimer disease.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2020 11 14;12(1):148. Epub 2020 Nov 14.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: We previously found temporoparietal-predominant atrophy patterns in the behavioral variant of Alzheimer's disease (bvAD), with relative sparing of frontal regions. Here, we aimed to understand the clinico-anatomical dissociation in bvAD based on alternative neuroimaging markers.

Methods: We retrospectively included 150 participants, including 29 bvAD, 28 "typical" amnestic-predominant AD (tAD), 28 behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), and 65 cognitively normal participants. Patients with bvAD were compared with other diagnostic groups on glucose metabolism and metabolic connectivity measured by [F]FDG-PET, and on subcortical gray matter and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volumes measured by MRI. A receiver-operating-characteristic-analysis was performed to determine the neuroimaging measures with highest diagnostic accuracy.

Results: bvAD and tAD showed predominant temporoparietal hypometabolism compared to controls, and did not differ in direct contrasts. However, overlaying statistical maps from contrasts between patients and controls revealed broader frontoinsular hypometabolism in bvAD than tAD, partially overlapping with bvFTD. bvAD showed greater anterior default mode network (DMN) involvement than tAD, mimicking bvFTD, and reduced connectivity of the posterior cingulate cortex with prefrontal regions. Analyses of WMH and subcortical volume showed closer resemblance of bvAD to tAD than to bvFTD, and larger amygdalar volumes in bvAD than tAD respectively. The top-3 discriminators for bvAD vs. bvFTD were FDG posterior-DMN-ratios (bvADbvFTD, area under the curve [AUC] range 0.85-0.91, all p < 0.001). The top-3 for bvAD vs. tAD were amygdalar volume (bvAD>tAD), MRI anterior-DMN-ratios (bvAD
Conclusions: Subtle frontoinsular hypometabolism and anterior DMN involvement may underlie the prominent behavioral phenotype in bvAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-020-00717-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666520PMC
November 2020

, age at onset, and ancestry help discriminate behavioral from language variants in FTLD cohorts.

Neurology 2020 12 17;95(24):e3288-e3302. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

From the Institute of Neurology (B.C., D.A.K., J.H., P.A.L., R.F.), School of Pharmacy (C.M.), and UCL Movement Disorders Centre (J.H.), University College London; School of Pharmacy (C.M., P.A.L.), University of Reading, Whiteknights; Neurogenetics Laboratory (M.B.-Q., C.W., J.M.P.), National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK; Aptima Clinic (Miquel Aguilar), Terrassa; Memory Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), University Hospital Mutua de Terrassa, Barcelona; Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (V.A., M.M.-G.), Oviedo, Spain; NORMENT (O.A.), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway; Regional Neurogenetic Centre (Maria Anfossi, Livia Bernardi, A.C.B., M.E.C., Chiara Cupidi, F.F., Maura Gallo, R.M., N.S.), ASPCZ, Lamezia Terme; Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (S.B., B.N., I.P., S.S.), University of Florence; Molecular Markers Laboratory (Luisa Benussi, Giuliano Binetti, R.G.), IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy; Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), Department of Neuroscience (D.B.), University of Sheffield, UK; Research Center and Memory Clinic (M.B., I.H., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, Spain; Centre for Neurodegenerative Disorders (B.B., A.P.), Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Italy; Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neurology (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway; Dept NVS, Division of Neurogeriatrics (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Karolinska Institutet, Bioclinicum Solna, Sweden; Department of Neurology (J.C., O.D.-I., I.I.-G., A.L.), IIB Sant Pau, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic (S.C., G.J.T.H., S.P.) and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (S.P.), University of Edinburgh, UK; NeuroGenomics and Informatics, Department of Psychiatry (Carlos Cruchaga), Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Cognitive Impairment Center (M.E.D.B., Maurizio Gallucci) and Immunohematology and Transfusional Medicine Service (E.D., A.V.), Local Health Authority n.2 Marca Trevigiana, Treviso, Italy; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (J.D.-S., C.R.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Germany; Department of Neurology (D.F., M.G.K.) and Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics (A.M., B.P.), University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dino Ferrari Center (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), University of Milan, Italy; Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Think and Speak Lab (J.H.G.), Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, Chicago, IL; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Murray Grossman, EunRan Suh, J.Q.T., V.M.V.D.), Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; UCL Dementia Research Institute (J.H.), London; Reta Lila Weston Institute (J.H.), UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UK; Institute for Advanced Study (J.H.), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China; Royal Edinburgh Hospital (G.J.T.H.), UK; Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain (E.D.H.), Columbia University, New York, NY; Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center (A.K., B.M., J.Y.), University of California, San Francisco; UCL Genomics (M.K., G.K.M., Y.P.), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Geriatric Center Frullone ASL Napoli 1 Centro (G.M.), Napoli, Italy; Department of Neurology (M.O.M., J.v.R., J.C.V.S.), Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Rona Holdings (P.M.), Silicon Valley, CA; Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, Institute of Neuroscience (C.M.M.), Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Department of Neurology (C.N.), Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS (V.N.), Rome, Italy; Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology (S.P.-B., A.M.T.R., S.R., J.C.T.), University of Manchester, UK; Amsterdam University Medical Center (Y.A.L.P.), VU University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Unit (A.A.P.), IRCCS Multimedica, Milan; Neurology I, Department of Neuroscience (I.R., Elisa Rubino), University of Torino; NeurOMICS laboratory (G.M., Antonella Rendina, E.V.), Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBBC), CNR Napoli, Italy; Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences (A.M.T.R., J.S., J.C.T.), Salford Royal NHS Trust, Manchester, UK; Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Ekaterina Rogaeva), University of Toronto, Canada; Department of Biotechnology (B.R.), Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Division of Neurology V and Neuropathology (G.R., F.T.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit (R.S.-V.), Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Spain; Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö (C.N., A.F.S.), and Division of Clinical Sciences Helsingborg, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund (M.L.W.), Lund University, Sweden; Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium; Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (V.E.-P.), Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences and Dementia Research Institute, Cardiff University, UK; Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias (V.A.), Oviedo, Asturias; Fundació per la Recerca Biomèdica i Social Mútua Terrassa (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) (M.B., J.C., O.D.-I., I.H., I.I.-G., A.L., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; Unit for Hereditary Dementias (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Theme Aging, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden; Medical Faculty (D.F., M.G.K.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Fondazione IRCCS Ca'Granda (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), Ospedale Policlinico, Milan, Italy; Penn Center for Frontotemporal Degeneration (Murray Grossman), Philadelphia, PA; Universidad de Oviedo (M.M.-G.), Asturias, Spain; IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi (B.N., S.S.), Florence; Istituto di Medicina Genomica (V.N.), Università Cattolica del sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; Amsterdam Neuroscience (Y.A.L.P.), the Netherlands; Department of Medicine and Surgery (A.A.P.), University of Salerno, Baronissi (SA), Italy; Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (B.R.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Institud d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (R.S.-V.), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Biomedical Sciences (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (P.A.L.), The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

Objective: We sought to characterize expansions in relation to genetic ancestry and age at onset (AAO) and to use these measures to discriminate the behavioral from the language variant syndrome in a large pan-European cohort of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases.

Methods: We evaluated expansions frequency in the entire cohort (n = 1,396; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD] [n = 800], primary progressive aphasia [PPA] [n = 495], and FTLD-motor neuron disease [MND] [n = 101]). We then focused on the bvFTD and PPA cases and tested for association between expansion status, syndromes, genetic ancestry, and AAO applying statistical tests comprising Fisher exact tests, analysis of variance with Tukey post hoc tests, and logistic and nonlinear mixed-effects model regressions.

Results: We found pathogenic expansions in 4% of all cases (56/1,396). Expansion carriers differently distributed across syndromes: 12/101 FTLD-MND (11.9%), 40/800 bvFTD (5%), and 4/495 PPA (0.8%). While addressing population substructure through principal components analysis (PCA), we defined 2 patients groups with Central/Northern (n = 873) and Southern European (n = 523) ancestry. The proportion of expansion carriers was significantly higher in bvFTD compared to PPA (5% vs 0.8% [ = 2.17 × 10; odds ratio (OR) 6.4; confidence interval (CI) 2.31-24.99]), as well as in individuals with Central/Northern European compared to Southern European ancestry (4.4% vs 1.8% [ = 1.1 × 10; OR 2.5; CI 1.17-5.99]). Pathogenic expansions and Central/Northern European ancestry independently and inversely correlated with AAO. Our prediction model (based on expansions status, genetic ancestry, and AAO) predicted a diagnosis of bvFTD with 64% accuracy.

Conclusions: Our results indicate correlation between pathogenic expansions, AAO, PCA-based Central/Northern European ancestry, and a diagnosis of bvFTD, implying complex genetic risk architectures differently underpinning the behavioral and language variant syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010914DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836664PMC
December 2020

End Stage Clinical Features and Cause of Death of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia and Young-Onset Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;77(3):1169-1180

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Limited literature exists regarding the clinical features of end stage behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). This data is indispensable to inform and prepare family members as well as professional caregivers for the expected disease course and to anticipate with drug-based and non-pharmacological treatment strategies.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to describe end stage bvFTD in a broad explorative manner and to subsequently evaluate similarities and dissimilarities with the end stage of the most prevalent form of young-onset dementia, Alzheimer's disease (yoAD).

Methods: We analyzed medical files on patients, using a mixed model of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Included were previously deceased patients with probable bvFTD and probable yoAD. End stage was defined as the last 6 months prior to death. Primary outcome measures comprised somatic, neurological, and psychiatric symptoms and the secondary outcome measure was cause of death.

Results: Out of 89 patients, a total of 30 patients were included (bvFTD; n = 12, yoAD; n = 18). Overall, the end stages of bvFTD and yoAD were characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical symptoms including severe autonomic dysfunction and an increased muscle tone. Patients with bvFTD displayed more mutism compared with yoAD while compulsiveness was only present in bvFTD.

Conclusion: Our study describes the full clinical spectrum of end stage bvFTD and yoAD. In this study, symptoms extend far beyond the initial behavioral and cognitive features. By taking both somatic, psychiatric, and neurological features into account, family members and professional caregivers may anticipate (non) pharmacological treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7683069PMC
January 2020

A clinical-radiological framework of the right temporal variant of frontotemporal dementia.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2831-2843

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The concept of the right temporal variant of frontotemporal dementia (rtvFTD) is still equivocal. The syndrome accompanying predominant right anterior temporal atrophy has previously been described as memory loss, prosopagnosia, getting lost and behavioural changes. Accurate detection is challenging, as the clinical syndrome might be confused with either behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD) or Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, based on neuroimaging features, the syndrome has been considered a right-sided variant of semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA). Therefore, we aimed to demarcate the clinical and neuropsychological characteristics of rtvFTD versus svPPA, bvFTD and Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, we aimed to compare its neuroimaging profile against svPPA, which is associated with predominant left anterior temporal atrophy. Of 619 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia or primary progressive aphasia, we included 70 subjects with a negative amyloid status in whom predominant right temporal lobar atrophy was identified based on blinded visual assessment of their initial brain MRI scans. Clinical symptoms were assessed retrospectively and compared with age- and sex-matched patients with svPPA (n = 70), bvFTD (n = 70) and Alzheimer's disease (n = 70). Prosopagnosia, episodic memory impairment and behavioural changes such as disinhibition, apathy, compulsiveness and loss of empathy were the most common initial symptoms, whereas during the disease course, patients developed language problems such as word-finding difficulties and anomia. Distinctive symptoms of rtvFTD compared to the other groups included depression, somatic complaints, and motor/mental slowness. Aside from right temporal atrophy, the imaging pattern showed volume loss of the right ventral frontal area and the left temporal lobe, which represented a close mirror image of svPPA. Atrophy of the bilateral temporal poles and the fusiform gyrus were associated with prosopagnosia in rtvFTD. Our results highlight that rtvFTD has a unique clinical presentation. Since current diagnostic criteria do not cover specific symptoms of the rtvFTD, we propose a diagnostic tree to be used to define diagnostic criteria and call for an international validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa225DOI Listing
September 2020

Latent atrophy factors related to phenotypical variants of posterior cortical atrophy.

Neurology 2020 09 16;95(12):e1672-e1685. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

From the Department of Neurology and Alzheimer Center (C.G., Y.A.L.P., P.S., W.M.v.d.F., R.O.), and Departments of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (F.B.) and Epidemiology and Biostatistics (W.M.v.d.F.), Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (B.T.T.Y., X.Z., N.S.), Clinical Imaging Research Centre, N1 Institute for Health and Memory Networks Program, National University of Singapore; Montreal Neurological Institute (J.W.V.), McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (X.Z.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences (E.C.M.), Stanford University, CA; Departments of Neurology, Radiology and Biomedical Imaging (B.L.M., H.J.R., R.L.J., G.D.R.), University of California, San Francisco; Institutes of Neurology & Healthcare Engineering (F.B.), University College London, UK; and Clinical Memory Research Unit (R.O.), Lund University, Sweden.

Objective: To determine whether atrophy relates to phenotypical variants of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) recently proposed in clinical criteria (i.e., dorsal, ventral, dominant-parietal, and caudal) we assessed associations between latent atrophy factors and cognition.

Methods: We employed a data-driven Bayesian modeling framework based on latent Dirichlet allocation to identify latent atrophy factors in a multicenter cohort of 119 individuals with PCA (age 64 ± 7 years, 38% male, Mini-Mental State Examination 21 ± 5, 71% β-amyloid positive, 29% β-amyloid status unknown). The model uses standardized gray matter density images as input (adjusted for age, sex, intracranial volume, MRI scanner field strength, and whole-brain gray matter volume) and provides voxelwise probabilistic maps for a predetermined number of atrophy factors, allowing every individual to express each factor to a degree without a priori classification. Individual factor expressions were correlated to 4 PCA-specific cognitive domains (object perception, space perception, nonvisual/parietal functions, and primary visual processing) using general linear models.

Results: The model revealed 4 distinct yet partially overlapping atrophy factors: right-dorsal, right-ventral, left-ventral, and limbic. We found that object perception and primary visual processing were associated with atrophy that predominantly reflects the right-ventral factor. Furthermore, space perception was associated with atrophy that predominantly represents the right-dorsal and right-ventral factors. However, individual participant profiles revealed that the large majority expressed multiple atrophy factors and had mixed clinical profiles with impairments across multiple domains, rather than displaying a discrete clinical-radiologic phenotype.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that specific brain behavior networks are vulnerable in PCA, but most individuals display a constellation of affected brain regions and symptoms, indicating that classification into 4 mutually exclusive variants is unlikely to be clinically useful.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010362DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7713727PMC
September 2020

Degree of genetic liability for Alzheimer's disease associated with specific proteomic profiles in cerebrospinal fluid.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 09 24;93:144.e1-144.e15. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Neurology, Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Genetic factors play a major role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, but biological mechanisms through which these factors contribute to AD remain elusive. Using a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteomic approach, we examined associations between polygenic risk scores for AD (PGRS) and CSF proteomic profiles in 250 individuals with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and AD-type dementia from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Out of 412 proteins, 201 were associated with PGRS. Hierarchical clustering analysis on proteins associated with PGRS at different single-nucleotide polymorphism p-value inclusion thresholds identified 3 clusters: (1) a protein cluster correlated with highly significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms, associated with amyloid-beta pathology and complement cascades; (2) a protein cluster associated with PGRS additionally including variants contributing to modest risk, involved in neural injury; (3) a protein cluster that also included less strongly associated variants, enriched with cytokine-cytokine interactions and cell adhesion molecules. These findings suggest that CSF protein levels reflect varying degrees of genetic liability for AD and may serve as a tool to investigate biological mechanisms in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.03.012DOI Listing
September 2020

Frontotemporal Dementia: Correlations Between Psychiatric Symptoms and Pathology.

Ann Neurol 2020 06 25;87(6):950-961. Epub 2020 Apr 25.

Department of Pathology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Location VUmc, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: The pathology of frontotemporal dementia, termed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized by distinct molecular classes of aggregated proteins, the most common being TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43), tau, and fused in sarcoma (FUS). With a few exceptions, it is currently not possible to predict the underlying pathology based on the clinical syndrome. In this study, we set out to investigate the relationship between pathological and clinical presentation at single symptom level, including neuropsychiatric features.

Methods: The presence or absence of symptoms from the current clinical guidelines, together with neuropsychiatric features, such as hallucinations and delusions, were scored and compared across pathological groups in a cohort of 150 brain donors.

Results: Our cohort consisted of 68.6% FTLD donors (35.3% TDP-43, 28% tau, and 5.3% FUS) and 31.3% non-FTLD donors with a clinical diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and a different pathological substrate, such as Alzheimer's disease (23%). The presence of hyperorality points to FTLD rather than non-FTLD pathology (p < 0.001). Within the FTLD group, hallucinations in the initial years of the disease were related to TDP-43 pathology (p = 0.02), including but not limited to chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) repeat expansion carriers. The presence of perseverative or compulsive behavior was more common in the TDP-B and TDP-C histotypes (p = 0.002).

Interpretation: Our findings indicate that neuropsychiatric features are common in FTLD and form an important indicator of underlying pathology. In order to allow better inclusion of patients in targeted molecular trials, the routine evaluation of patients with frontotemporal dementia should include the presence and nature of neuropsychiatric symptoms. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:950-961.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318614PMC
June 2020

Neuronal pentraxin 2: a synapse-derived CSF biomarker in genetic frontotemporal dementia.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 06 9;91(6):612-621. Epub 2020 Apr 9.

Department of Nuclear Medicine and Geriatric Medicine, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.

Introduction: Synapse dysfunction is emerging as an early pathological event in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), however biomarkers are lacking. We aimed to investigate the value of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neuronal pentraxins (NPTXs), a family of proteins involved in homeostatic synapse plasticity, as novel biomarkers in genetic FTD.

Methods: We included 106 presymptomatic and 54 symptomatic carriers of a pathogenic mutation in , or , and 70 healthy non-carriers participating in the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), all of whom had at least one CSF sample. We measured CSF concentrations of NPTX2 using an in-house ELISA, and NPTX1 and NPTX receptor (NPTXR) by Western blot. We correlated NPTX2 with corresponding clinical and neuroimaging datasets as well as with CSF neurofilament light chain (NfL) using linear regression analyses.

Results: Symptomatic mutation carriers had lower NPTX2 concentrations (median 643 pg/mL, IQR (301-872)) than presymptomatic carriers (1003 pg/mL (624-1358), p<0.001) and non-carriers (990 pg/mL (597-1373), p<0.001) (corrected for age). Similar results were found for NPTX1 and NPTXR. Among mutation carriers, NPTX2 concentration correlated with several clinical disease severity measures, NfL and grey matter volume of the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes, insula and whole brain. NPTX2 predicted subsequent decline in phonemic verbal fluency and Clinical Dementia Rating scale plus FTD modules. In longitudinal CSF samples, available in 13 subjects, NPTX2 decreased around symptom onset and in the symptomatic stage.

Discussion: We conclude that NPTX2 is a promising synapse-derived disease progression biomarker in genetic FTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2019-322493DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7279197PMC
June 2020

The quality of the relationship perceived by spouses of people with young-onset dementia.

Int Psychogeriatr 2020 Mar 10:1-10. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology/Alzheimer Center Limburg, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: Young-onset dementia (YOD) has a profound impact on spouses. However, little is known on how the quality of the relationship changes over time in YOD. This study aims to determine how the quality of the relationship changes over time and identify predictors of this change.

Methods: This study used data from the NEEDs in Young onset Dementia (NeedYD) study. The primary outcome measure was the quality of the relationship perceived by spouses measured throughout 24 months. Baseline characteristics of persons with YOD and spouses were also measured to assess their predictive value.

Results: Totally, 178 dyads were included. The perceived quality of the relationship deteriorated over time. A longer symptom duration, a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, lower levels of awareness of deficits, lower levels of initiative toward daily living activities, and higher levels of apathy, hyperactivity, depression, and anxiety in the person with YOD were associated with a lower perceived quality of the relationship by spouses. A coping style characterized by palliative and passive reacting patterns and higher levels of neuroticism in spouses was also associated with a lower quality of the relationship.

Conclusion: The quality of the relationship as perceived by spouses deteriorated over time and was influenced by characteristics of the person with YOD as well as their spouse. Helping spouses to come to terms with factors that threaten their sense of couplehood might help them to develop a more positive attitude toward their spousal relationship and improve the quality of the relationship and care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220000332DOI Listing
March 2020

Effectiveness of Pharmacological Interventions for Symptoms of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia: A Systematic Review.

Cogn Behav Neurol 2020 03;33(1):1-15

Department of Old Age Psychiatry, GGZinGeest, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Clinical guidance on the symptomatic treatment of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is limited.

Objective: To provide a systematic review of pharmacological interventions for symptomatic treatment of bvFTD, based on the International bvFTD Criteria Consortium clinical diagnostic criteria: apathy, disinhibition, lack of empathy or sympathy, hyperorality, stereotypical behavior, and executive dysfunction.

Methods: We systematically searched the PubMed, Embase, and PsycINFO databases for reports on pharmacological interventions for individuals with bvFTD, published between 1970 and 2018, using key indicators and relevant terms. Studies were included if the efficacy of the intervention in alleviating bvFTD symptoms was provided as an outcome. Due to the high prevalence of depressive symptoms in individuals with bvFTD, we also evaluated the effect of the interventions on depression.

Results: We included 23 studies-11 randomized controlled trials, eight open-label studies, one proof-of-concept study, and three case series-reporting on a total of 573 individuals. Of the 23 studies, 16 used pharmacological interventions that improved bvFTD symptoms. Based on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, trazodone had the greatest significant reductive effect on the symptoms of bvFTD. Overall, citalopram, rivastigmine, paroxetine, and trazodone all reduced multiple symptoms, including disinhibition, hyperorality, and depression.

Conclusions: This review provides an overview of the pharmacological interventions that can be used to treat the main bvFTD symptoms as well as a guideline for managing bvFTD. More research is needed to investigate the efficacy of pharmacological interventions for bvFTD through use of a validated outcome and a focus on the specific behavioral problems associated with bvFTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNN.0000000000000217DOI Listing
March 2020

Recommendations to distinguish behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia from psychiatric disorders.

Brain 2020 06;143(6):1632-1650

Department of Neurology, UCLA Medical Centre, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA.

The behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a frequent cause of early-onset dementia. The diagnosis of bvFTD remains challenging because of the limited accuracy of neuroimaging in the early disease stages and the absence of molecular biomarkers, and therefore relies predominantly on clinical assessment. BvFTD shows significant symptomatic overlap with non-degenerative primary psychiatric disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders and even personality disorders. To date, ∼50% of patients with bvFTD receive a prior psychiatric diagnosis, and average diagnostic delay is up to 5-6 years from symptom onset. It is also not uncommon for patients with primary psychiatric disorders to be wrongly diagnosed with bvFTD. The Neuropsychiatric International Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia was recently established to determine the current best clinical practice and set up an international collaboration to share a common dataset for future research. The goal of the present paper was to review the existing literature on the diagnosis of bvFTD and its differential diagnosis with primary psychiatric disorders to provide consensus recommendations on the clinical assessment. A systematic literature search with a narrative review was performed to determine all bvFTD-related diagnostic evidence for the following topics: bvFTD history taking, psychiatric assessment, clinical scales, physical and neurological examination, bedside cognitive tests, neuropsychological assessment, social cognition, structural neuroimaging, functional neuroimaging, CSF and genetic testing. For each topic, responsible team members proposed a set of minimal requirements, optimal clinical recommendations, and tools requiring further research or those that should be developed. Recommendations were listed if they reached a ≥ 85% expert consensus based on an online survey among all consortium participants. New recommendations include performing at least one formal social cognition test in the standard neuropsychological battery for bvFTD. We emphasize the importance of 3D-T1 brain MRI with a standardized review protocol including validated visual atrophy rating scales, and to consider volumetric analyses if available. We clarify the role of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET for the exclusion of bvFTD when normal, whereas non-specific regional metabolism abnormalities should not be over-interpreted in the case of a psychiatric differential diagnosis. We highlight the potential role of serum or CSF neurofilament light chain to differentiate bvFTD from primary psychiatric disorders. Finally, based on the increasing literature and clinical experience, the consortium determined that screening for C9orf72 mutation should be performed in all possible/probable bvFTD cases or suspected cases with strong psychiatric features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7849953PMC
June 2020

The Value of Neuropsychological Assessment in the Differentiation Between Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia and Late-Onset Psychiatric Disorders.

J Clin Psychiatry 2020 02 4;81(1). Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Department of Old Age Psychiatry, GGZ inGeest, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: To investigate which neuropsychological tests can discriminate between behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and psychiatric disorders presenting with similar late-onset frontal behavioral changes, such as apathy, disinhibition, reduced empathy, or compulsive behavior.

Methods: Patients presenting with frontal behavioral changes in middle or late adulthood received extensive baseline examinations, including neuropsychological assessment and brain imaging. After 2 years, examinations were repeated and patients were diagnosed according to DSM-IV or international bvFTD consensus criteria. The study period was April 2011-June 2015. Two groups were selected: 32 patients with bvFTD and 53 patients with a psychiatric or psychological diagnosis. Associations between neuropsychological test scores and diagnostic group were investigated with logistic regression analyses, and diagnostic accuracy was investigated with a receiver operating characteristic curve.

Results: BvFTD patients scored lower on tests for confrontational naming, gestalt completion, and verbal abstraction compared to psychiatric patients (P < .01). The confrontational naming test (Boston Naming Test) showed the strongest association with diagnostic group: a lower score indicated a higher probability for a bvFTD diagnosis (P < .001). This test could discriminate between the groups with good diagnostic accuracy (area under the curve = 0.81). Tests for attention, memory, and executive functions showed no discriminative ability between the groups.

Conclusions: Although one of the criteria of bvFTD is low performance on executive tests, these tests are not useful in differentiating bvFTD from psychiatric disorders. We recommend administering language tests, especially an extensive confrontational naming test, to aid differentiation between bvFTD and a psychiatric disorder in patients presenting with late-onset frontal behavioral changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4088/JCP.19m12811DOI Listing
February 2020

Multivariate analysis reveals anatomical correlates of naming errors in primary progressive aphasia.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 04 20;88:71-82. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Laboratory for Cognitive Neurology, Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Neurology Department, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is an overarching term for a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases which affect language processing. Impaired picture naming has been linked to atrophy of the anterior temporal lobe in the semantic variant of PPA. Although atrophy of the anterior temporal lobe proposedly impairs picture naming by undermining access to semantic knowledge, picture naming also entails object recognition and lexical retrieval. Using multivariate analysis, we investigated whether cortical atrophy relates to different types of naming errors generated during picture naming in 43 PPA patients (13 semantic, 9 logopenic, 11 nonfluent, and 10 mixed variant). Omissions were associated with atrophy of the anterior temporal lobes. Semantic errors, for example, mistaking a rhinoceros for a hippopotamus, were associated with atrophy of the left mid and posterior fusiform cortex and the posterior middle and inferior temporal gyrus. Semantic errors and atrophy in these regions occurred in each PPA subtype, without major between-subtype differences. We propose that pathological changes to neural mechanisms associated with semantic errors occur across the PPA spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.12.016DOI Listing
April 2020

Selection of memory clinic patients for CSF biomarker assessment can be restricted to a quarter of cases by using computerized decision support, without compromising diagnostic accuracy.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(1):e0226784. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Introduction: An accurate and timely diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is important, both for care and research. The current diagnostic criteria allow the use of CSF biomarkers to provide pathophysiological support for the diagnosis of AD. How these criteria should be operationalized by clinicians is unclear. Tools that guide in selecting patients in which CSF biomarkers have clinical utility are needed. We evaluated computerized decision support to select patients for CSF biomarker determination.

Methods: We included 535 subjects (139 controls, 286 Alzheimer's disease dementia, 82 frontotemporal dementia and 28 vascular dementia) from three clinical cohorts. Positive (AD like) and negative (normal) CSF biomarker profiles were simulated to estimate whether knowledge of CSF biomarkers would impact (confidence in) diagnosis. We applied these simulated CSF values and combined them with demographic, neuropsychology and MRI data to initiate CSF testing (computerized decision support approach). We compared proportion of CSF measurements and patients diagnosed with sufficient confidence (probability of correct class ≥0.80) based on an algorithm with scenarios without CSF (only neuropsychology, MRI and APOE), CSF according to the appropriate use criteria (AUC) and CSF for all patients.

Results: The computerized decision support approach recommended CSF testing in 140 (26%) patients, which yielded a diagnosis with sufficient confidence in 379 (71%) of all patients. This approach was more efficient than CSF in none (0% CSF, 308 (58%) diagnosed), CSF selected based on AUC (295 (55%) CSF, 350 (65%) diagnosed) or CSF in all (100% CSF, 348 (65%) diagnosed).

Conclusions: We used a computerized decision support with simulated CSF results in controls and patients with different types of dementia. This approach can support clinicians in making a balanced decision in ordering additional biomarker testing. Computer-supported prediction restricts CSF testing to only 26% of cases, without compromising diagnostic accuracy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226784PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6961870PMC
April 2020

Psychotropic drug use in community-dwelling people with young-onset dementia: two-year course and determinants.

Aging Ment Health 2021 01 20;25(1):179-186. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the course of psychotropic drug use in people with young-onset dementia and to explore possible associations with age, sex, dementia severity, dementia subtype and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Methods: Psychotropic drug use was studied in 198 community-dwelling persons participating in the Needs in Young-onset Dementia study. Data about psychotropic drug use were retrieved at baseline, as well as at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and was classified into five groups (antiepileptics, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics/sedatives and antidepressants) and quantified as 'present' or 'absent'. Generalized Estimating Equation modeling and chi-square tests were used to study associations between the determinants and psychotropic drug use.

Results: There was a statistically significant increase in the prevalence of psychotropic drug use from 52.3% to 62.6% during the course of the study. Almost three-quarters (72.4%) of the participants were treated with any psychotropic drug during the study, and more than one-third (37.4%) received psychotropic drugs continuously. Antipsychotics were used continuously in more than 10% of the participants and antidepressants in more than 25%. Increasing age was positively associated ( = .018) with psychotropic drug use at baseline, while apathy symptoms were negatively associated ( = .018).

Conclusions: Despite the recommendations of various guidelines, the prolonged use of psychotropic drugs in community-dwelling people with young-onset dementia is high. Therefore, more attention is needed to timely evaluate psychotropic drug use and the introduction of self-management programs for caregivers should be encouraged to support caregivers in dealing with the neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by the dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1691145DOI Listing
January 2021

Serum neurofilament light chain in genetic frontotemporal dementia: a longitudinal, multicentre cohort study.

Lancet Neurol 2019 12;18(12):1103-1111

Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Background: Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is a promising blood biomarker in genetic frontotemporal dementia, with elevated concentrations in symptomatic carriers of mutations in GRN, C9orf72, and MAPT. A better understanding of NfL dynamics is essential for upcoming therapeutic trials. We aimed to study longitudinal NfL trajectories in people with presymptomatic and symptomatic genetic frontotemporal dementia.

Methods: We recruited participants from 14 centres collaborating in the Genetic Frontotemporal Dementia Initiative (GENFI), which is a multicentre cohort study of families with genetic frontotemporal dementia done across Europe and Canada. Eligible participants (aged ≥18 years) either had frontotemporal dementia due to a pathogenic mutation in GRN, C9orf72, or MAPT (symptomatic mutation carriers) or were healthy at-risk first-degree relatives (either presymptomatic mutation carriers or non-carriers), and had at least two serum samples with a time interval of 6 months or more. Participants were excluded if they had neurological comorbidities that were likely to affect NfL, including cerebrovascular events. We measured NfL longitudinally in serum samples collected between June 8, 2012, and Dec 8, 2017, through follow-up visits annually or every 2 years, which also included MRI and neuropsychological assessments. Using mixed-effects models, we analysed NfL changes over time and correlated them with longitudinal imaging and clinical parameters, controlling for age, sex, and study site. The primary outcome was the course of NfL over time in the various stages of genetic frontotemporal dementia.

Findings: We included 59 symptomatic carriers and 149 presymptomatic carriers of a mutation in GRN, C9orf72, or MAPT, and 127 non-carriers. Nine presymptomatic carriers became symptomatic during follow-up (so-called converters). Baseline NfL was elevated in symptomatic carriers (median 52 pg/mL [IQR 24-69]) compared with presymptomatic carriers (9 pg/mL [6-13]; p<0·0001) and non-carriers (8 pg/mL [6-11]; p<0·0001), and was higher in converters than in non-converting carriers (19 pg/mL [17-28] vs 8 pg/mL [6-11]; p=0·0007; adjusted for age). During follow-up, NfL increased in converters (b=0·097 [SE 0·018]; p<0·0001). In symptomatic mutation carriers overall, NfL did not change during follow-up (b=0·017 [SE 0·010]; p=0·101) and remained elevated. Rates of NfL change over time were associated with rate of decline in Mini Mental State Examination (b=-94·7 [SE 33·9]; p=0·003) and atrophy rate in several grey matter regions, but not with change in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration-Clinical Dementia Rating scale score (b=-3·46 [SE 46·3]; p=0·941).

Interpretation: Our findings show the value of blood NfL as a disease progression biomarker in genetic frontotemporal dementia and suggest that longitudinal NfL measurements could identify mutation carriers approaching symptom onset and capture rates of brain atrophy. The characterisation of NfL over the course of disease provides valuable information for its use as a treatment effect marker.

Funding: ZonMw and the Bluefield project.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30354-0DOI Listing
December 2019