The objective of this study was to examine if patterns of resting-state brain activity and functional connectivity in cortical and subcortical regions in patients with early symptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) resemble those of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). In a cross-sectional design, eyes-closed resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG) data of 34 ALS patients, 18 bvFTD patients and 18 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HCs) were projected to source-space using an atlas-based beamformer. Group differences in peak frequency, band-specific oscillatory activity and functional connectivity (corrected amplitude envelope correlation) in 78 cortical regions and 12 subcortical regions were determined. False discovery rate was used to correct for multiple comparisons. BvFTD patients, as compared to ALS and HCs, showed lower relative beta power in parietal, occipital, temporal and nearly all subcortical regions. Compared to HCs, patients with ALS and patients with bvFTD had a higher delta (0.5–4 Hz) and gamma (30–48 Hz) band resting-state functional connectivity in a high number of overlapping regions in the frontal lobe and in limbic and subcortical regions. Higher delta band connectivity was widespread in the bvFTD patients compared to HCs. ALS showed a more widespread higher gamma band functional connectivity compared to bvFTD. In conclusion, MEG in early symptomatic ALS patients shows resting-state functional connectivity changes in frontal, limbic and subcortical regions that overlap considerably with bvFTD. The findings show the potential of MEG to detect brain changes in early symptomatic phases of ALS and contribute to our understanding of the disease spectrum, with ALS and bvFTD at the two extreme ends.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia
- Functional connectivity
- Oscillatory brain activity