BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Frontostriatal (including the putamen) circuit-mediated cognitive dysfunction has been implicated in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), but not in Alzheimer disease (AD) or healthy aging. We sought to assess putaminal volume as a measure of the structural basis of relative frontostriatal dysfunction in these groups. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We measured putaminal volume in FTLD subtypes: frontotemporal dementia (FTD, n = 12), semantic dementia (SD, n = 13), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA, n = 9) in comparison with healthy controls (n = 25) and patients with AD (n = 18). Diagnoses were based on accepted clinical criteria. We conducted manual volume measurement of the putamen blinded to the diagnosis on T1 brain MR imaging by using a standardized protocol. RESULTS: Paired t tests (P < .05) showed that the left putaminal volume was significantly larger than the right in all groups combined. Multivariate analysis of covariance with a Bonferroni correction was used to assess statistical significance among the subject groups (AD, FTD, SD, PNFA, and controls) as independent variables and right/left putaminal volumes as dependent variables (covariates, age and intracranial volume; P < .05). The right putamen in FTD was significantly smaller than in AD and controls; whereas in SD, it was smaller compared with controls with a trend toward being smaller than in AD. There was also a trend toward the putamen in the PNFA being smaller than that in controls and in patients with AD. Across the groups, there was a positive partial correlation between putaminal volume and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). CONCLUSIONS: Right putaminal volume was significantly smaller in FTD, the FTLD subtype with the greatest expected frontostriatal dysfunction; whereas in SD and PNFA, it showed a trend towards being smaller, consistent with expectation, compared to controls and AD; and in SD, compared with AD and controls. Putaminal volume weakly correlated with MMSE.
2009. Vol. 30, no 8, 1552-1560 p.