The neuropathology and clinical phenotype of FTD with progranulin mutations
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- Mackenzie, I.R.A. Acta Neuropathol (2007) 114: 49. doi:10.1007/s00401-007-0223-8
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Mutations in the progranulin gene (PGRN), on chromosome 17q21, have recently been identified as a major cause of familial frontotemporal dementia (FTD). These cases have a characteristic pattern of neuropathology that is a distinct subtype of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U), with lentiform neuronal intranuclear inclusions being a consistent feature. There is no abnormal accumulation of PGRN protein in the brain and immunohistochemical and biochemical analysis indicates that the ubiquitinated pathological protein is TDP-43. In these families, FTD is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion with high penetrance. The clinical phenotype is usually a combination of behavioural abnormality and language disturbance that is most often a form of primary progressive aphasia. Mild parkinsonism is common but motor neuron disease is notably rare. Marked variation in the disease course and clinical features are common, not only between families with different mutations, but also within individual families. This degree of clinical variability makes it difficult to predict which cases of familial FTD will turn out to have a PGRN mutation.