Novel data-driven subtypes and stages of brain atrophy in the ALS–FTD spectrum

Ting Shen, Jacob W. Vogel, Jeffrey Duda, Jeffrey S. Phillips, Philip A. Cook, James Gee, Lauren Elman, Colin Quinn, Defne A. Amado, Michael Baer, Lauren Massimo, Murray Grossman, David J. Irwin, Corey T. McMillan

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Background: TDP-43 proteinopathies represent a spectrum of neurological disorders, anchored clinically on either end by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). The ALS–FTD spectrum exhibits a diverse range of clinical presentations with overlapping phenotypes, highlighting its heterogeneity. This study was aimed to use disease progression modeling to identify novel data-driven spatial and temporal subtypes of brain atrophy and its progression in the ALS–FTD spectrum. Methods: We used a data-driven procedure to identify 13 anatomic clusters of brain volume for 57 behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD; with either autopsy-confirmed TDP-43 or TDP-43 proteinopathy-associated genetic variants), 103 ALS, and 47 ALS–FTD patients with likely TDP-43. A Subtype and Stage Inference (SuStaIn) model was trained to identify subtypes of individuals along the ALS–FTD spectrum with distinct brain atrophy patterns, and we related subtypes and stages to clinical, genetic, and neuropathological features of disease. Results: SuStaIn identified three novel subtypes: two disease subtypes with predominant brain atrophy in either prefrontal/somatomotor regions or limbic-related regions, and a normal-appearing group without obvious brain atrophy. The limbic-predominant subtype tended to present with more impaired cognition, higher frequencies of pathogenic variants in TBK1 and TARDBP genes, and a higher proportion of TDP-43 types B, E and C. In contrast, the prefrontal/somatomotor-predominant subtype had higher frequencies of pathogenic variants in C9orf72 and GRN genes and higher proportion of TDP-43 type A. The normal-appearing brain group showed higher frequency of ALS relative to ALS–FTD and bvFTD patients, higher cognitive capacity, higher proportion of lower motor neuron onset, milder motor symptoms, and lower frequencies of genetic pathogenic variants. The overall SuStaIn stages also correlated with evidence for clinical progression including longer disease duration, higher King’s stage, and cognitive decline. Additionally, SuStaIn stages differed across clinical phenotypes, genotypes and types of TDP-43 pathology. Conclusions: Our findings suggest distinct neurodegenerative subtypes of disease along the ALS–FTD spectrum that can be identified in vivo, each with distinct brain atrophy, clinical, genetic and pathological patterns.

TidskriftTranslational Neurodegeneration
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Neurovetenskaper


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