Clinicopathological associations of hemispheric dominance in primary progressive apraxia of speech

Eur J Neurol. 2023 May;30(5):1209-1219. doi: 10.1111/ene.15764. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


Objective: Primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS) is associated with imaging abnormalities in the lateral premotor cortex (LPC) and supplementary motor area (SMA). It is not known whether greater involvement of these regions in either hemisphere is associated with demographics, presenting, and/or longitudinal features.

Methods: In 51 prospectively recruited PPAOS patients who completed [18 F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET), we classified patients as left-dominant, right-dominant, or symmetric, based on visual assessment of the LPC and SMA on FDG-PET. SPM and statistical analyses of regional metabolic values were performed. Diagnosis of PPAOS was made if apraxia of speech was present and aphasia absent. Thirteen patients completed ioflupane-123I (dopamine transporter [DAT]) scans. We compared cross-sectional and longitudinal clinicopathological, genetic, and neuroimaging characteristics across the three groups, with area under the receiver-operating curve (AUROC) determined as a measure of effect size.

Results: In all, 49% of the PPAOS patients were classified as left-dominant, 31% as right-dominant, and 20% as symmetric, which was supported by results from the SPM and regional analyses. There were no differences in baseline characteristics. Longitudinally, right-dominant PPAOS showed faster rates of progression of ideomotor apraxia (AUROC 0.79), behavioral disturbances (AUROC 0.84), including disinhibition symptoms (AUROC 0.82) and negative behaviors (AUROC 0.82), and parkinsonism (AUROC 0.75) compared to left-dominant PPAOS. Symmetric PPAOS showed faster rates of dysarthria progression compared to left-dominant (AUROC 0.89) and right-dominant PPAOS (AUROC 0.79). Five patients showed abnormal DAT uptake. Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage differed across groups (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Patients with PPAOS and a right-dominant pattern of hypometabolism on FDG-PET have the fastest rates of decline of behavioral and motor features.

Keywords: DAT scan; FDG-PET; PPAOS; premotor; supplementary motor area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive* / diagnostic imaging
  • Apraxias* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Speech / physiology


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18