The contribution of cerebellar pathology to cognitive and behavioural manifestations is increasingly recognised, but the cerebellar profiles of FTD phenotypes are relatively poorly characterised. A prospective, single-centre imaging study has been undertaken with a high-resolution structural and diffusion tensor protocol to systematically evaluate cerebellar grey and white matter alterations in behavioural-variant FTD(bvFTD), non-fluent variant primary progressive aphasia(nfvPPA), semantic-variant primary progressive aphasia(svPPA), C9orf72-positive ALS-FTD(C9 + ALSFTD) and C9orf72-negative ALS-FTD(C9-ALSFTD). Cerebellar cortical thickness and complementary morphometric analyses were carried out to appraise atrophy patterns controlling for demographic variables. White matter integrity was assessed in a study-specific white matter skeleton, evaluating three diffusivity metrics: fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD). Significant cortical thickness reductions were identified in: lobule VII and crus I in bvFTD; lobule VI VII, crus I and II in nfvPPA; and lobule VII, crus I and II in svPPA; lobule IV, VI, VII and Crus I and II in C9 + ALSFTD. Morphometry revealed volume reductions in lobule V in all groups; in addition to lobule VIII in C9 + ALSFTD; lobule VI, VIII and vermis in C9-ALSFTD; lobule V, VII and vermis in bvFTD; and lobule V, VI, VIII and vermis in nfvPPA. Widespread white matter alterations were demonstrated by significant fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity and radial diffusivity changes in each FTD phenotype that were more focal in those with C9 + ALSFTD and svPPA. Our findings indicate that FTD subtypes are associated with phenotype-specific cerebellar signatures with the selective involvement of specific lobules instead of global cerebellar atrophy.
Mary Clare McKenna, Rangariroyashe H Chipika, Stacey Li Hi Shing, Foteini Christidi, Jasmin Lope, Mark A Doherty, Jennifer C Hengeveld, Alice Vajda, Russell L McLaughlin, Orla Hardiman, Siobhan Hutchinson, Peter Bede