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Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2019 Jan 2;6(2):373-378. doi: 10.1002/acn3.683. eCollection 2019 Feb.

In vivo evidence for pre-symptomatic neuroinflammation in a MAPT mutation carrier.

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Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge United Kingdom.
Department of Clinical Neurosciences University of Cambridge Cambridge United Kingdom.
Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre University of Cambridge Cambridge United Kingdom.
Division of Anaesthesia University of Cambridge Cambridge United Kingdom.
Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit Cambridge United Kingdom.


Neuroinflammation occurs in frontotemporal dementia, however its timing relative to protein aggregation and neuronal loss is unknown. Using positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging to quantify these processes in a pre-symptomatic carrier of the 10 + 16 MAPT mutation, we show microglial activation in frontotemporal regions, despite a lack of protein aggregation or atrophy in these areas. The distribution of microglial activation better discriminated the carrier from controls than did protein aggregation at this pre-symptomatic disease stage. Our findings suggest an early role for microglial activation in frontotemporal dementia. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore the causality of this pathophysiological association.

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