Voxel-based morphometry in tau-positive and tau-negative frontotemporal lobar degenerations

Jennifer L. Whitwell, Jason D. Warren, Keith A. Josephs, Alison K. Godbolt, Tamas Revesz, Nick C. Fox, Martin N. Rossor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: The identification of specific, diagnostically useful predictors of protein dysfunction in the frontotemporal lobar degenerations (FTLD) is a problem of great clinical and biological interest. Correlations between regional patterns of tissue loss and specific proteinopathies have not been established. Objective: Specific brain imaging correlates of protein tau dysfunction were sought using voxel-based morphometry in FTLD subgroups with and without tau pathology. Methods: Seventeen patients with pathologically or genetically confirmed diagnoses of FTLD who had undergone volumetric brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were identified retrospectively and tau-positive (n = 9) and tau-negative (n = 8) subgroups were defined. MRI data were compared with healthy age- and sex-matched controls using voxel-based morphometry implemented in a statistical parametric mapping software package. Results: Compared with controls, tau-positive and tau-negative subgroups had extensive common areas of regional brain atrophy predominantly affecting the frontal and anterior temporal lobes. No specific brain imaging features were identified for either subgroup. Conclusion: Patterns of frontotemporal atrophy do not predict the presence or absence of tau pathology; conversely, different immunohistochemical profiles are associated with similar patterns of regional vulnerability to neuronal loss in FTLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalNeurodegenerative Diseases
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 2004


  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tau
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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