White matter imaging contributes to the multimodal diagnosis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration

C. T. McMillan, C. Brun, S. Siddiqui, M. Churgin, D. Libon, P. Yushkevich, H. Zhang, A. Boller, J. Gee, M. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the distribution of white matter (WM) disease in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Alzheimer disease (AD) and to evaluate the relative usefulness of WM and gray matter (GM) for distinguishing these conditions in vivo. Methods: Patients were classified as having FTLD (n = 50) or AD (n = 42) using autopsy-validated CSF values of total-tau:=-amyloid (t-tau:Aβ1-42) ratios. Patients underwent WM diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and volumetric MRI of GM. We employed tract-specific analyses of WM fractional anisotropy (FA) and whole-brain GM density analyses. Individual patient classification was performed using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves with FA, GM, and a combination of the 2 modalities. Results: Regional FA and GM were significantly reduced in FTLD and AD relative to healthy seniors. Direct comparisons revealed significantly reduced FA in the corpus callosum in FTLD relative to AD. GM analyses revealed reductions in anterior temporal cortex for FTLD relative to AD, and in posterior cingulate and precuneus for AD relative to FTLD. ROC curves revealed that a multimodal combination of WM and GM provide optimal classification (area under the curve = 0.938), with 87% sensitivity and 83% specificity. Conclusions: FTLD and AD have significant WM and GM defects. A combination of DTI and volumetric MRI modalities provides a quantitative method for distinguishing FTLD and AD in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1761-1768
Number of pages8
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 29 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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