A multimodal neuroimaging study of a case of crossed nonfluent/agrammatic primary progressive aphasia

Edoardo G. Spinelli, Francesca Caso, Federica Agosta, Giuseppe Gambina, Giuseppe Magnani, Elisa Canu, Valeria Blasi, Daniela Perani, Giancarlo Comi, Andrea Falini, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crossed aphasia has been reported mainly as post-stroke aphasia resulting from brain damage ipsilateral to the dominant right hand. Here, we described a case of a crossed nonfluent/agrammatic primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA), who developed a corticobasal syndrome (CBS). We collected clinical, cognitive, and neuroimaging data for four consecutive years from a 55-year-old right-handed lady (JV) presenting with speech disturbances. 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) and DaT-scan with 123I-Ioflupane were obtained. Functional MRI (fMRI) during a verb naming task was acquired to characterize patterns of language lateralization. Diffusion tensor MRI was used to evaluate white matter damage within the language network. At onset, JV presented with prominent speech output impairment and right frontal atrophy. After 3 years, language deficits worsened, with the occurrence of a mild agrammatism. The patient also developed a left-sided mild extrapyramidal bradykinetic-rigid syndrome. The clinical picture was suggestive of nfvPPA with mild left-sided extrapyramidal syndrome. At this time, voxel-wise SPM analyses of 18F-FDG PET and structural MRI showed right greater than left frontal hypometabolism and damage, which included the Broca’s area. DaT-scan showed a reduced uptake in the right striatum. FMRI during naming task demonstrated bilateral language activations, and tractography showed right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) involvement. Over the following year, JV became mute and developed frank left-sided motor signs and symptoms, evolving into a CBS clinical picture. Brain atrophy worsened in frontal areas bilaterally, and extended to temporo-parietal regions, still with a right-sided asymmetry. Tractography showed an extension of damage to the left SLF and right inferior longitudinal fasciculus. We report a case of crossed nfvPPA followed longitudinally and studied with advanced neuroimaging techniques. The results highlight a complex interaction between individual premorbid developmental differences and the clinical phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2336-2345
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 2015


  • 18-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (F-FDG PET)
  • Corticobasal syndrome (CBS)
  • Crossed aphasia
  • Diffusion tensor tractography
  • Functional MRI
  • Nonfluent/agrammatic primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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