Fronto-striatal atrophy correlates of neuropsychiatric dysfunction in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Dong Seok Yi, Maxime Bertoux, Eneida Mioshi, John R. Hodges, Michael Hornberger

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Behavioural disturbances in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are thought to reflect mainly atrophy of cortical regions. Recent studies suggest that subcortical brain regions, in particular the striatum, are also significantly affected and this pathology might play a role in the generation of behavioural symptoms. Objective: To investigate prefrontal cortical and striatal atrophy contributions to behavioural symptoms in FTD. Methods: One hundred and eighty-two participants (87 FTD patients, 39 AD patients and 56 controls) were included. Behavioural profiles were established using the Cambridge Behavioural Inventory Revised (CBI-R) and Frontal System Behaviour Scale (FrSBe). Atrophy in prefrontal (VMPFC, DLPFC) and striatal (caudate, putamen) regions was established via a 5-point visual rating scale of the MRI scans. Behavioural scores were correlated with atrophy rating scores. Results: Behavioural and atrophy ratings demonstrated that patients were significantly impaired compared to controls, with bvFTD being most severely affected. Behavioural-anatomical correlations revealed that VMPFC atrophy was closely related to abnormal behaviour and motivation disturbances. Stereotypical behaviours were associated with both VMPFC and striatal atrophy. By contrast, disturbance of eating was found to be related to striatal atrophy only. Conclusion: Frontal and striatal atrophy contributed to the behavioural disturbances seen in FTD, with some behaviours related to frontal, striatal or combined fronto-striatal pathology. Consideration of striatal contributions to the generation of behavioural disturbances should be taken into account when assessing patients with potential FTD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalDementia & Neuropsychologia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Striatum

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