Caudate atrophy on MRI is a characteristic feature of FTLD-FUS

Eur J Neurol. 2010 Jul;17(7):969-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2010.02975.x. Epub 2010 Mar 3.


Background and purpose: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) can be subdivided into those in which the abnormal protein is tau (FTLD-TAU), the TAR DNA binding protein 43 (FTLD-TDP) and the fused in sarcoma protein (FTLD-FUS). We have observed severe caudate atrophy at autopsy in FTLD-FUS, and hence, we aimed to determine whether caudate atrophy on MRI is a feature that can distinguish FTLD-FUS from FTLD-TDP and FTLD-TAU.

Methods: From a cohort of 207 cases of FTLD, we identified all cases of FTLD-FUS that had a volumetric antemortem head MRI (n = 3). Caudate and frontal lobe volumes were measured in all three cases using atlas-based parcellation and SPM5 and were compared to 10 randomly selected cases of FTLD-TDP and 10 randomly selected cases of FTLD-TAU. Total grey matter volumes were also calculated for all cases.

Results: The FTLD-FUS cases had significantly smaller caudate volumes (P = 0.02) yet similar frontal lobe grey matter volumes (P = 0.12) compared to FTLD-TDP and FTLD-TAU. Caudate volumes when corrected for total grey matter volume (P = 0.01) or frontal lobe grey matter volume (P = 0.01) were significantly smaller in FTLD-FUS than in FTLD-TDP and FTLD-TAU and showed no overlap with the other two groups.

Conclusions: Caudate atrophy on MRI appears to be significantly greater in FTLD-FUS compared with FTLD-TDP and FTLD-TAU, suggesting that severe caudate atrophy may be a useful clinical feature to predict FTLD-FUS pathology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Caudate Nucleus / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology*
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / metabolism
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA-Binding Protein FUS / metabolism*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Protein FUS
  • tau Proteins