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Arch Neurol. 2011 Apr;68(4):488-97. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2011.53.

Genetic and clinical features of progranulin-associated frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

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  • 1Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.



To assess the relative frequency of unique mutations and their associated characteristics in 97 individuals with mutations in progranulin (GRN), an important cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).


A 46-site International Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Collaboration was formed to collect cases of FTLD with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43-kDa (TDP-43)-positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We identified 97 individuals with FTLD-TDP with pathogenic GRN mutations (GRN+ FTLD-TDP), assessed their genetic and clinical characteristics, and compared them with 453 patients with FTLD-TDP in which GRN mutations were excluded (GRN- FTLD-TDP). No patients were known to be related. Neuropathologic characteristics were confirmed as FTLD-TDP in 79 of the 97 GRN+ FTLD-TDP cases and all of the GRN- FTLD-TDP cases.


Age at onset of FTLD was younger in patients with GRN+ FTLD-TDP vs GRN- FTLD-TDP (median, 58.0 vs 61.0 years; P < .001), as was age at death (median, 65.5 vs 69.0 years; P < .001). Concomitant motor neuron disease was much less common in GRN+ FTLD-TDP vs GRN- FTLD-TDP (5.4% vs 26.3%; P < .001). Fifty different GRN mutations were observed, including 2 novel mutations: c.139delG (p.D47TfsX7) and c.378C>A (p.C126X). The 2 most common GRN mutations were c.1477C>T (p.R493X, found in 18 patients, representing 18.6% of GRN cases) and c.26C>A (p.A9D, found in 6 patients, representing 6.2% of cases). Patients with the c.1477C>T mutation shared a haplotype on chromosome 17; clinically, they resembled patients with other GRN mutations. Patients with the c.26C>A mutation appeared to have a younger age at onset of FTLD and at death and more parkinsonian features than those with other GRN mutations.


GRN+ FTLD-TDP differs in key features from GRN- FTLD-TDP.

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