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Exp Neurol. 2007 Jul;206(1):1-10. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

The complex aetiology of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

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Division of Regenerative Medicine, Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, and Hope Hospital, Salford, M6 8HD, UK.


Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is now a widely recognised form of dementia. This heterogeneous disease has been of particular interest to geneticists due to its high rate of heritability with up to 40% of patients reporting a family history of the disease in at least one extra family member. There have been several chromosome loci linked to this disorder and three genes have already been identified. Remarkably, it has been recently demonstrated that 2 of these are only 1.7 Mb from one another on chromosome 17q21, these being tau and progranulin. The identification of these genes has contributed greatly to our understanding of the differing neuropathologies associated with FTLD. Furthermore, the discovery that TDP-43 is a component of the neuronal inclusions seen in the most common neuropathological subtype has also helped expand the biochemical pathways that are the focus of much FTLD research. Nevertheless, other genes causing FTLD remain to be identified and their biology elucidated before we have a complete understanding of the complex aetiology of this disease.

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