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Comparison of the pattern of atrophy of the corpus callosum in frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, and Alzheimer's disease
  1. Hiroshi Yamauchia,d,
  2. Hidenao Fukuyamab,
  3. Yasuhiro Nagahamab,
  4. Yukinori Katsumia,
  5. Takuya Hayashia,
  6. Chisako Oyanagia,
  7. Junji Konishic,
  8. Hideo Shiod
  1. aDepartment of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, bDepartment of Brain Pathophysiology, cDepartment of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, dResearch Institute, Shiga Medical Center, 5–4–30 Moriyama, Moriyama-city, Shiga 524–8524, Japan
  1. Dr Hiroshi Yamauchi, Shigayamauchi{at}


OBJECTIVES The loss of the neurons in layer 3, one of the groups of cortical neurons most vulnerable in various degenerative brain diseases, results in axonal degeneration leading to atrophy of the corpus callosum. Previous studies showed callosal atrophy in three degenerative dementias: frontotemporal dementia (FTD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, it is unclear whether a characteristic pattern of atrophy is present in each. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the pattern of the callosal atrophy was different among patients with FTD, PSP, or early onset AD.

METHODS Eleven patients with FTD, nine patients with PSP, 16 patients with early onset AD, and 23 normal controls, all age and sex matched, were studied using MRI. The ratios of midsagittal corpus callosum areas to the midline internal skull surface area on T1 weighted images were analyzed. The corpus callosum was divided into quarters: the anterior, middle-anterior, middle-posterior, and posterior portions.

RESULTS Compared with controls, all three patient groups had significantly decreased total callosal/skull area ratio. An analysis of covariance adjusted for the total callosal area/skull area ratio showed that the anterior quarter callosal/skull area ratio in FTD, the middle-anterior quarter area ratio in PSP, and the posterior quarter area ratio in AD were significantly smaller than those in the other three groups.

CONCLUSION Although atrophy of the corpus callosum is not specific to any degenerative dementia, the patterns of the atrophy are different among patients with FTD, PSP, or early onset AD. Differential patterns of callosal atrophy might reflect characteristic patterns of neocortical involvement in each degenerative dementia.

  • frontotemporal dementia
  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • corpus callosum

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