Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in frontotemporal lobar degeneration-related syndromes.


There is an urgent need for a better understanding of the pathophysiology of cognitive impairment in syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Here, we used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify metabolite deficits in sixty patients with a clinical syndrome associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia n = 11, progressive supranuclear palsy n = 26, corticobasal syndrome n = 11, primary progressive aphasias n = 12), and 38 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. We measured nine metabolites in the right inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus and right primary visual cortex. Metabolite concentrations were corrected for age, sex, and partial volume then compared with cognitive and behavioral measures using canonical correlation analysis. Metabolite concentrations varied significantly by brain region and diagnosis (region x metabolite x diagnosis interaction F(64) = 1.73, p < 0.001, corrected for age, sex, and atrophy within the voxel). N-acetyl aspartate and glutamate concentrations were reduced in the right prefrontal cortex in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy, even after partial volume correction. The reduction of these metabolites was associated with executive dysfunction and behavioral impairment (canonical correlation analysis R = 0.85, p < 0.001).