A systematic review of neurotransmitter deficits and treatments in frontotemporal dementia

Edward D. Huey*, Karen T. Putnam, Jordan Grafman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate neurotransmitter deficiencies and neurotransmitter-based treatments for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Methods: The authors conducted a systematic review of the literature on the mechanism and treatment of FTD and a meta-analysis of treatment studies of antidepressants for the behavioral symptoms of FTD. Results: Patients with FTD show deficiencies in the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems, while the acetylcholine system appears relatively intact. Antidepressant treatment significantly improves behavioral symptoms in FTD, but most studies are small and uncontrolled. Serotonergic treatments appear to improve the behavioral but not cognitive symptoms of FTD. Conclusions: Studies of neurotransmitter deficiencies in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) can be helpful in developing treatments. Treatment studies on FTD are scarce, given the prevalence and severity of this illness. Larger, well-controlled treatment studies are required to reach more definitive conclusions about treatment efficacy. Multicenter studies are likely the best way to complete treatment studies in a timely manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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