Orbitofrontal dysfunction related to both apathy and disinhibition in frontotemporal dementia

Frédéric Peters, Daniela Perani, Karl Herholz, Vjera Holthoff, Bettina Beuthien-Baumann, Sandro Sorbi, Alberto Pupi, Christian Degueldre, Christian Lemaire, Fabienne Collette, Eric Salmon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Orbitofrontal metabolic impairment is characteristic of the frontal variant of frontotemporal dementia (fv-FTD), as are early changes in emotional and social conduct. Two main types of behavioral disturbances have been distinguished in fv-FTD patients: apathetic and disinhibited manifestations. In this study, we searched for relationships between brain metabolism and presence of apathetic or disinhibited behavior. Metabolic activity and behavioral data were collected in 41 fv-FTD patients from European PET centers. A conjunction analysis of the PET data showed an expected impairment of metabolic activity in the anterior cingulate, ventromedial and orbital prefrontal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left anterior insula in fv-FTD subjects compared to matched controls. A correlation was observed between disinhibition scores on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory scale and a cluster of voxels located in the posterior orbitofrontal cortex (6, 28, -24). Comparison of brain activity between apathetic and nonapathetic fv-FTD patients from two centers also revealed a specific involvement of the posterior orbitofrontal cortex in apathetic subjects (4, 22, -22). The results confirm that the main cerebral metabolic impairment in fv-FTD patients affects areas specializing in emotional evaluation and demonstrate that decreased orbitofrontal activity is related to both disinhibited and apathetic syndromes in fv-FTD. Copyright © 2006 S. Karger AG.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)373-379
    Number of pages6
    JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
    Issue number5-6
    Publication statusPublished - May 2006


    • Apathy
    • Disinhibition
    • Frontotemporal dementia
    • Positron emission tomography
    • Social conduct


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