Inherited frontotemporal dementia in 9 British families associated with intronic mutations in the tau gene.

Pickering-Brown, S. M. and Richardson, A. M. T. and Snowden, J. S. and McDonagh, A. and Burns, A. and Braudie, W. and Baker, M. and Yen, S.-H. and Hardy, J. and Hutton, M. and Davies, Y. and Allsop, David and Craufurd, D. and Neary, D. and Mann, D. M. A. (2002) Inherited frontotemporal dementia in 9 British families associated with intronic mutations in the tau gene. Brain, 125 (4). pp. 732-751. ISSN 1460-2156

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Genetic screening of 171 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration disclosed 14 patients, across nine pedigrees, with mutations in the intron to exon 10 in the tau gene, a region regulating the splicing of exon 10 via a stem loop mechanism. Thirteen of these patients had the +16 splice site mutation and one had the +13 splice site mutation. Affected members of all nine families presented with changes in behaviour and social conduct that were prototypical of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In all patients with the +16 splice site mutation, the behavioural profile was characterized by disinhibition, restless overactivity, a fatuous affect, puerile behaviour and verbal and motor stereotypies. The single patient with the +13 mutation presented a contrasting picture of apathy and inertia. In addition, all patients had evidence of semantic loss. Pathologically, five of the six patients so far autopsied shared frontotemporal atrophy with involvement of the substantia nigra. The underlying histology was that of microvacuolar-type cortical degeneration with a few swollen cells. Tau pathology was widespread throughout the brain and present in neurones and glial cells, mostly in the frontal and temporal cortical regions. This was in the form of neurofibrillary tangles and amorphous tau deposits (pre-tangles); Pick bodies were not observed. Ultrastructurally, the tau filaments had a twisted, ribbon-like morphology distinct from the paired helical filaments of Alzheimer’s disease. One patient died from an unrelated illness whilst in the early clinical stages of FTD. In this patient, cortical microvacuolar and astrocytic changes were absent, though there were scattered neurones and glial cells, immunoreactive to tau, throughout the cortical and subcortical regions. The disease process underlying the neurodegeneration within these inherited forms of FTD may therefore stem directly from early, primary alterations in the function of tau. All eight families with the +16 mutation seem to be part of a common extended pedigree, possibly originating from a founder member residing within the North Wales region of Great Britain.

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15 May 2008 10:44
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19 Sep 2023 00:35