The behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a rare disease mainly affecting the social brain. FDG-PET fronto-temporal hypometabolism is a supportive feature for the diagnosis. It may also provide specific functional metabolic signatures for altered socioemotional processing. In this study, we evaluated the emotion recognition and attribution deficits and FDG-PET cerebral metabolic patterns at the group and individual levels in a sample of sporadic bvFTD patients, exploring the cognitive-functional correlations. Seventeen probable mild bvFTD patients (10 male and 7 female; age 67.8±9.9) were administered standardized and validated version of social cognition tasks assessing the recognition of basic emotions and the attribution of emotions and intentions (i.e., Ekman 60-Faces test- Ek60F and Story-based Empathy task-SET). FDG-PET was analysed using an optimized voxel-based SPM method at the single-subject and group levels. Severe deficits of emotion recognition and processing characterized the bvFTD condition. At the group level, metabolic dysfunction in the right amygdala, temporal pole, and middle cingulate cortex was highly correlated to the emotional recognition and attribution performances. At the singlesubject level, however, heterogeneous impairments of social cognition tasks emerged, and different metabolic patterns, involving limbic structures and prefrontal cortices, were also observed. The derangement of a right limbic network is associated with altered socio-emotional processing in bvFTD patients, but different hypometabolic FDG-PET patterns and heterogeneous performances on social tasks at an individual level exist.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)