Cortical degeneration in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy caused by progranulin gene mutation

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  • Richard A. Armstrong

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Familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP) is most commonly caused by progranulin (GRN) gene mutation. To characterize cortical degeneration in these cases, changes in density of the pathology across the cortical laminae of the frontal and temporal lobe were studied in seven cases of FTLD-TDP with GRN mutation using quantitative analysis and polynomial curve fitting. In 50% of gyri studied, neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) exhibited a peak of density in the upper cortical laminae. Most frequently, neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII) and dystrophic neurites (DN) exhibited a density peak in lower and upper laminae, respectively, glial inclusions (GI) being distributed in low densities across all laminae. Abnormally enlarged neurons (EN) were distributed either in the lower laminae or were more uniformly distributed across the cortex. The distribution of all neurons present varied between cases and regions, but most commonly exhibited a bimodal distribution, density peaks occurring in upper and lower laminae. Vacuolation primarily affected the superficial laminae and density of glial cell nuclei increased with distance across the cortex from pia mater to white matter. The densities of the NCI, GI, NII, and DN were not spatially correlated. The laminar distribution of the pathology in GRN mutation cases was similar to previously reported sporadic cases of FTLD-TDP. Hence, pathological changes initiated by GRN mutation, and by other causes in sporadic cases, appear to follow a parallel course resulting in very similar patterns of cortical degeneration in FTLD-TDP.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-903
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • dystrophic neurites (DN), neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI), neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII), transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43), vacuolation

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