Papez circuit gray matter and episodic memory in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia

Ana Paula Arantes Bueno, Leonardo Cruz de Souza, Walter Hugo Lopez Pinaya, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira, Laura Godoy Rousseff de Prado, Paulo Caramelli, Michael Hornberger, João Ricardo Sato

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia are two different diseases recognized to overlap at clinical, pathological and genetic characteristics. Both conditions are traditionally known for relative sparing of episodic memory. However, recent studies have disputed that with the report of patients presenting with marked episodic memory impairment. Besides that, structural and functional changes in temporal lobe regions responsible for episodic memory processing are often detected in neuroimaging studies of both conditions. In this study, we investigated the gray matter features associated with the Papez circuit in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and healthy controls to further explore similarities and differences between the two conditions. Our non-demented amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients showed no episodic memory deficits measured by a short-term delayed recall test while no changes in gray matter of the Papez circuit were found. Compared with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis group, the behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia group had lower performance on the short-term delayed recall test and marked atrophy in gray matter of the Papez circuit. Bilateral atrophy of entorhinal cortex and mammillary bodies distinguished behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients as well as atrophy in left cingulate, left hippocampus and right parahippocampal gyrus. Taken together, our results suggest that sub-regions of the Papez circuit could be differently affected in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996–1006
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number2
Early online date30 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia
  • Episodic memory
  • Papez circuit

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