Fluid biomarkers in frontotemporal dementia: Past, present and future

Imogen Joanna Swift, Aitana Sogorb-Esteve, Carolin Heller, Matthis Synofzik, Markus Otto, Caroline Graff, Daniela Galimberti, Emily Todd, Amanda J. Heslegrave, Emma Louise Van Der Ende, John Cornelis Van Swieten, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Daniel Rohrer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The frontotemporal dementia (FTD) spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders includes a heterogeneous group of conditions. However, following on from a series of important molecular studies in the early 2000s, major advances have now been made in the understanding of the pathological and genetic underpinnings of the disease. In turn, alongside the development of novel methodologies for measuring proteins and other molecules in biological fluids, the last 10 years have seen a huge increase in biomarker studies within FTD. This recent past has focused on attempting to develop markers that will help differentiate FTD from other dementias (particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD)), as well as from non-neurodegenerative conditions such as primary psychiatric disorders. While cerebrospinal fluid, and more recently blood, markers of AD have been successfully developed, specific markers identifying primary tauopathies or TDP-43 proteinopathies are still lacking. More focus at the moment has been on non-specific markers of neurodegeneration, and in particular, multiple studies of neurofilament light chain have highlighted its importance as a diagnostic, prognostic and staging marker of FTD. As clinical trials get under way in specific genetic forms of FTD, measures of progranulin and dipeptide repeat proteins in biofluids have become important potential measures of therapeutic response. However, understanding of whether drugs restore cellular function will also be important, and studies of key pathophysiological processes, including neuroinflammation, lysosomal function and synaptic health, are also now becoming more common. There is much still to learn in the fluid biomarker field in FTD, but the creation of large multinational cohorts is facilitating better powered studies and will pave the way for larger omics studies, including proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics, as well as investigations of multimodal biomarker combinations across fluids, brain imaging and other domains. Here we provide an overview of the past, present and future of fluid biomarkers within the FTD field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-215
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Volume92
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2021

Keywords

  • CSF
  • frontotemporal dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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