CSF metabolites in the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease from frontal variant of frontotemporal dementia

Francesca De Rino, Filippo Martinelli-Boneschi, Francesca Caso, Marta Zuffi, Matteo Zabeo, Gabriella Passerini, Giancarlo Comi, Giuseppe Magnani, Massimo Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The early differentiation between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontal variant of frontotemporal dementia (fvFTD) is frequently difficult, albeit critical for the adequate management of patients and their caregivers. In order to assess the accuracy of CSF levels of betaamyloid 1-42 (Aβ), tau (τ) and Thr 181-phosphorilated tau (Pτ) in the early differentiation of AD from fvFTD, we designed a prospective study in which patients have been followed up for at least 2 years. Seventy-two patients with AD and 42 patients with fvFTD showed significantly different CSF levels of Pτ (increased in AD, p = 0.0001), Aβ (reduced in AD, p = 0.03), and ratios of Pτ to Aβ (p = 0.003). ROC analyses showed that the ratio P7tau;/AβAb is able to predict diagnosis with an AUC of 0.73 (optimal level being 0.16) corresponding to a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 68%. Our findings suggest that CSF metabolites may be the important tools in the early differential diagnosis between AD and fvFTD, albeit to be correlated with clinical, neuropsychological and bio imaging features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-977
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Beta-amyloid
  • CSF
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Phospho-tau
  • Tau protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology

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