Pattern of structural and functional brain abnormalities in asymptomatic granulin mutation carriers

Michela Pievani, Donata Paternicò, Luisa Benussi, Giuliano Binetti, Alberto Orlandini, Milena Cobelli, Silvia Magnaldi, Roberta Ghidoni, Giovanni B. Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background To investigate the patterns of brain atrophy, white matter (WM) tract changes, and functional connectivity (FC) abnormalities in asymptomatic granulin (GRN) mutation carriers.

Methods Ten cognitively normal subjects (five mutation carriers, GRN+; years to estimated disease onset: 12 ± 7; five mutation noncarriers, GRN-) underwent a clinical and imaging (structural, diffusion tensor, and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging) assessment. Brain atrophy was measured with cortical thickness analysis, WM abnormalities with tract-based spatial statistics, and FC with independent component analysis.

Results GRN+ showed smaller cortical thickness than GRN- in the right orbitofrontal and precentral gyrus and left rostral middle frontal gyrus. WM tracts abnormalities were limited to increased axial diffusivity in the right cingulum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and corticospinal tract. There were no differences in FC of resting-state networks.

Conclusion Brain atrophy and WM tract abnormalities in frontal-parietal circuits can be detected at least a decade before the estimated symptom onset in asymptomatic mutation carriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S354-S363
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Cortical thickness
  • Diffusion tensor
  • FTLD
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Progranulin
  • Resting-state functional MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine(all)


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