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PLoS One. 2014 Sep 4;9(9):e106500. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106500. eCollection 2014.

Multimodal FMRI resting-state functional connectivity in granulin mutations: the case of fronto-parietal dementia.

Author information

1
Centre for Ageing Brain and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Neurology Unit, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.
2
Clinical and Experimental Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Koelliker Hospital, Turin, Italy; Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
3
Neuroradiology Unit, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.
4
III Laboratory Analyses, Brescia Hospital, Brescia, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Monogenic dementias represent a great opportunity to trace disease progression from preclinical to symptomatic stages. Frontotemporal Dementia related to Granulin (GRN) mutations presents a specific framework of brain damage, involving fronto-temporal regions and long inter-hemispheric white matter bundles. Multimodal resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a promising tool to carefully describe disease signature from the earliest disease phase.

OBJECTIVE:

To define local connectivity alterations in GRN related pathology moving from the presymptomatic (asymptomatic GRN mutation carriers) to the clinical phase of the disease (GRN- related Frontotemporal Dementia).

METHODS:

Thirty-one GRN Thr272fs mutation carriers (14 patients with Frontotemporal Dementia and 17 asymptomatic carriers) and 38 healthy controls were recruited. Local connectivity measures (Regional Homogeneity (ReHo), Fractional Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuation (fALFF) and Degree Centrality (DC)) were computed, considering age and gender as nuisance variables as well as the influence of voxel-level gray matter atrophy.

RESULTS:

Asymptomatic GRN carriers had selective reduced ReHo in the left parietal region and increased ReHo in frontal regions compared to healthy controls. Considering Frontotemporal Dementia patients, all measures (ReHo, fALFF and DC) were reduced in inferior parietal, frontal lobes and posterior cingulate cortex. Considering GRN mutation carriers, an inverse correlation with age in the posterior cingulate cortex, inferior parietal lobule and orbitofrontal cortex was found.

CONCLUSIONS:

GRN pathology is characterized by functional brain network alterations even decades before the clinical onset; they involve the parietal region primarily and then spread to the anterior regions of the brain, supporting the concept of molecular nexopathies.

PMID:
25188321
PMCID:
PMC4154688
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0106500
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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