Objective: To determine if behavioral symptoms in patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) were associated with degeneration of a ventral frontotemporal network. Methods: We used diffusion tensor imaging tractography to quantify abnormalities of the uncinate fasciculus that connects the anterior temporal lobe and the ventrolateral frontal cortex. Two additional ventral tracts were studied: the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. We also measured cortical thickness of anterior temporal and orbitofrontal regions interconnected by these tracts. Thirty-three patients with PPA and 26 healthy controls were recruited. Results: In keeping with the PPA diagnosis, behavioral symptoms were distinctly less prominent than the language deficits. Although all 3 tracts had structural pathology as determined by tractography, significant correlations with scores on the Frontal Behavioral Inventory were found only for the uncinate fasciculus. Cortical atrophy of the orbitofrontal and anterior temporal lobe cortex was also correlated with these scores. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that damage to a frontotemporal network mediated by the uncinate fasciculus may underlie the emergence of behavioral symptoms in patients with PPA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology