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Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: current perspectives

Authors Riedl L, Mackenzie I, Förstl H, Kurz A, Diehl-Schmid J

Received 5 October 2013

Accepted for publication 2 December 2013

Published 13 February 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 297—310


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Lina Riedl,1 Ian R Mackenzie,2 Hans Förstl,1 Alexander Kurz,1 Janine Diehl-Schmid1

1Center for Cognitive Disorders, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany; 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Abstract: The term frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) refers to a group of progressive brain diseases, which preferentially involve the frontal and temporal lobes. Depending on the primary site of atrophy, the clinical manifestation is dominated by behavior alterations or impairment of language. The onset of symptoms usually occurs before the age of 60 years, and the mean survival from diagnosis varies between 3 and 10 years. The prevalence is estimated at 15 per 100,000 in the population aged between 45 and 65 years, which is similar to the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in this age group. There are two major clinical subtypes, behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia. The neuropathology underlying the clinical syndromes is also heterogeneous. A common feature is the accumulation of certain neuronal proteins. Of these, the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT), the transactive response DNA-binding protein, and the fused in sarcoma protein are most important. Approximately 10% to 30% of FTLD shows an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance, with mutations in the genes for MAPT, progranulin (GRN), and in the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) accounting for more than 80% of familial cases. Although significant advances have been made in recent years regarding diagnostic criteria, clinical assessment instruments, neuropsychological tests, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and brain imaging techniques, the clinical diagnosis remains a challenge. To date, there is no specific pharmacological treatment for FTLD. Some evidence has been provided for serotonin reuptake inhibitors to reduce behavioral disturbances. No large-scale or high-quality studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of non-pharmacological treatment approaches in FTLD. In view of the limited treatment options, caregiver education and support is currently the most important component of the clinical management.

Keywords: review, frontotemporal dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration

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