Magnetic resonance imaging signatures of tissue pathology in frontotemporal dementia

Jennifer L. Whitwell, Keith A. Josephs, Martin N. Rossor, John M. Stevens, Tamas Revesz, Janice L. Holton, Safa Al-Sarraj, Alison K. Godbolt, Nick C. Fox, Jason D. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Background: The pathologic substrates of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are difficult to predict in vivo. Objective: To determine whether different pathologic substrates of FTD have distinct patterns of regional atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Design: Retrospective case study. Setting: The Institute of Neurology, University College London, and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. Patients: Twenty-one cases of FTD selected on pathologic grounds (9 with ubiquitin-positive [tau- and α-synuclein- negative] inclusions [FTD-U], 7 with Pick disease [PiD], and 5 with familial FTD with tau exon 10+16 mutations [tau exon 10+16]) and 20 healthy controls were studied. Main Outcome Measures: Patterns of gray matter atrophy in each group as assessed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and a blinded visual assessment of each MRI study. Results: All pathologic substrates were associated with atrophy that involved the inferior and medial temporal and inferior frontal lobes. Additionally, specific VBM signatures were identified for each subgroup: FTD-U was associated with asymmetric (left > right) temporal lobe atrophy, PiD was associated with severe dorsolateral bifrontal atrophy, and tau exon 10+16 was associated with asymmetric (right>left) medial temporal lobe atrophy. The VBM findings were supported by blinded visual assessment. Conclusion: These findings suggest that MRI patterns of regional gray matter atrophy constitute signatures of tissue pathology in FTD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1402-1408
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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