The term frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) defines a group of heterogeneous conditions histologically characterized by neuronal degeneration, inclusions of various proteins, and synaptic loss. However, the molecular mechanisms contributing to these alterations are still unknown. As the Rho-GTPase family member Cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) plays a key role in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton dynamics and spine formation, we investigated whether Cdc42 protein levels were altered in the disease. Cdc42 was increased in the frontal cortex of FTLD patients compared to age-matched controls, but also in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients included in the data-set. On the other hand, the pool of circulating Cdc42 in the plasma was altered in FTLD but not in AD patients. Interestingly, the stratification of the FTLD patients according to the different clinical variants showed a specific decrease of Cdc42 expression in the behavioral subgroup. This data support a role of Cdc42 in FTLD and specifically in the behavioral variant.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Cdc42; Rho-GTPases; biomarkers; frontotemporal dementia; plasma.