Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a group of complex neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive deterioration of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes of the brain resulting in different heterogeneous conditions, mainly characterized by personality changes, behavioral disturbances, such as binge eating, and deficits in language and executive functions. Null mutations in progranulin gene (GRN) are one of the most frequent genetic determinants in familial frontotemporal dementia. Recently, progranulin was recognized as an adipokine involved in diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance revealing its metabolic function. Increasing evidence suggests that neurodegenerative dementias are associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic changes than in the general population. According to these findings, the aim of this study is to investigate putative alterations in markers linked to metabolic functions (i.e., C-peptide, ghrelin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide-1, glucagon, insulin, resistin, and three adipokines as visfatin, leptin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 total) in sporadic and GRN-related FTLD. We found that 1) C-peptide is increased in sporadic and GRN-mutated FTLD patients; in addition, we demonstrated an anticipation of the disease in patients with the highest C-peptide concentrations; 2) visfatin is slightly reduced in the whole FTLD group; 3) resistin, an adipokine involved in inflammatory-related diseases, is specifically increased in FTLD due to GRN null mutations; 4) ghrelin concentration is specifically increased in pre-symptomatic subjects and FTLD patients with GRN mutations. These findings support the hypothesis that alterations in metabolic pattern are involved in FTLD progression highlighting novel putative targets for the development of preventive and personalized therapies.
Keywords: Adipokines; C-peptide; FTLD; ghrelin; haploinsufficiency; resistin; serum; visfatin.