BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Brain iron deposition has been implicated as a major culprit in the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration. However, the quantitative assessment of iron in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia brains has not been performed, to our knowledge. The aim of our study was to investigate the characteristic iron levels in the frontotemporal dementia subtypes using susceptibility-weighted imaging and report its association with behavioral profiles. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study included 46 patients with frontotemporal dementia (34 with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and 12 with primary progressive aphasia) and 34 age-matched healthy controls. We performed behavioral and neuropsychological assessment in all the subjects. The quantitative iron load was determined on SWI in the superior frontal gyrus and temporal pole, precentral gyrus, basal ganglia, anterior cingulate, frontal white matter, head and body of the hippocampus, red nucleus, substantia nigra, insula, and dentate nucleus. A linear regression analysis was performed to correlate iron content and behavioral scores in patients. RESULTS: The iron content of the bilateral superior frontal and temporal gyri, anterior cingulate, putamen, right hemispheric precentral gyrus, insula, hippocampus, and red nucleus was higher in patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia than in controls. Patients with primary progressive aphasia had increased iron levels in the left superior temporal gyrus. In addition, right superior frontal gyrus iron deposition discriminated behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia from primary progressive aphasia. A strong positive association was found between apathy and iron content in the superior frontal gyrus and disinhibition and iron content in the putamen. CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative assessment of iron deposition with SWI may serve as a new biomarker in the diagnostic work-up of frontotemporal dementia and help distinguish frontotemporal dementia subtypes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology