Language networks in semantic dementia

Federica Agosta, Roland G. Henry, Raffaella Migliaccio, John Neuhaus, Bruce L. Miller, Nina Dronkers, Simona M. Brambati, Massimo Filippi, Jennifer M. Ogar, Stephen M. Wilson, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cognitive deficits in semantic dementia have been attributed to anterior temporal lobe grey matter damage; however, key aspects of the syndrome could be due to altered anatomical connectivity between language pathways involving the temporal lobe. The aim of this study was to investigate the left language-related cerebral pathways in semantic dementia using diffusion tensor imaging-based tractography and to combine the findings with cortical anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging data obtained during a reading activation task. The left inferior longitudinal fasciculus, arcuate fasciculus and fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus were tracked in five semantic dementia patients and eight healthy controls. The left uncinate fasciculus and the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum were also obtained for comparison with previous studies. From each tract, mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, as well as parallel and transverse diffusivities were obtained. Diffusion tensor imaging results were related to grey and white matter atrophy volume assessed by voxel-based morphometry and functional magnetic resonance imaging activations during a reading task. Semantic dementia patients had significantly higher mean diffusivity, parallel and transverse in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. The arcuate and uncinate fasciculi demonstrated significantly higher mean diffusivity, parallel and transverse and significantly lower fractional anisotropy. The fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus was relatively spared, with a significant difference observed for transverse diffusivity and fractional anisotropy, only. In the corpus callosum, the genu showed lower fractional anisotropy compared with controls, while no difference was found in the splenium. The left parietal cortex did not show significant volume changes on voxel-based morphometry and demonstrated normal functional magnetic resonance imaging activation in response to reading items that stress sublexical phonological processing. This study shows that semantic dementia is associated with anatomical damage to the major superior and inferior temporal white matter connections of the left hemisphere likely involved in semantic and lexical processes, with relative sparing of the fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus. Fronto-parietal regions connected by this tract were activated normally in the same patients during sublexical reading. These findings contribute to our understanding of the anatomical changes that occur in semantic dementia, and may further help to explain the dissociation between marked single-word and object knowledge deficits, but sparing of phonology and fluency in semantic dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-299
Number of pages14
JournalBrain
Volume133
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Fingerprint

Frontotemporal Dementia
Language
Anisotropy
Reading
Parietal Lobe
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Corpus Callosum
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Temporal Lobe
Semantics
Atrophy

Keywords

  • Diffusion tensor-based tractography
  • Functional MRI
  • Semantic dementia
  • Semantic knowledge
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Agosta, F., Henry, R. G., Migliaccio, R., Neuhaus, J., Miller, B. L., Dronkers, N., ... Gorno-Tempini, M. L. (2010). Language networks in semantic dementia. Brain, 133(1), 286-299. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp233

Language networks in semantic dementia. / Agosta, Federica; Henry, Roland G.; Migliaccio, Raffaella; Neuhaus, John; Miller, Bruce L.; Dronkers, Nina; Brambati, Simona M.; Filippi, Massimo; Ogar, Jennifer M.; Wilson, Stephen M.; Gorno-Tempini, Maria Luisa.

In: Brain, Vol. 133, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 286-299.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Agosta, F, Henry, RG, Migliaccio, R, Neuhaus, J, Miller, BL, Dronkers, N, Brambati, SM, Filippi, M, Ogar, JM, Wilson, SM & Gorno-Tempini, ML 2010, 'Language networks in semantic dementia', Brain, vol. 133, no. 1, pp. 286-299. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp233
Agosta F, Henry RG, Migliaccio R, Neuhaus J, Miller BL, Dronkers N et al. Language networks in semantic dementia. Brain. 2010 Jan;133(1):286-299. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp233
Agosta, Federica ; Henry, Roland G. ; Migliaccio, Raffaella ; Neuhaus, John ; Miller, Bruce L. ; Dronkers, Nina ; Brambati, Simona M. ; Filippi, Massimo ; Ogar, Jennifer M. ; Wilson, Stephen M. ; Gorno-Tempini, Maria Luisa. / Language networks in semantic dementia. In: Brain. 2010 ; Vol. 133, No. 1. pp. 286-299.
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