Movement disorders are linked to TDP-43 burden in the substantia nigra of FTLD-TDP brain donors

Netherlands Brain Bank

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Movement disorders (MD) have been linked to degeneration of the substantia nigra (SN) in Parkinson's disease and include bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. They are also present in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), where MD have been linked to frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tau pathology (FTLD-tau). Although MD can also occur in FTLD with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP), the local pathology in the SN of FTLD-TDP patients with MD is currently unexplored. The aims of this study are to characterize the frequency and the nature of MD in a cohort of FTLD-TDP brain donors and to investigate the relationship between the presence of MD, the nigral neuronal loss, and the TDP-43 burden in the SN. From our cohort of FTLD-TDP patients (n = 53), we included 13 donors who presented with MD (FTLD-MD+), and nine age-sex matched donors without MD (FTLD-MD-) for whom the SN was available. In these donors, the TDP-43 burden and the neuronal density in the SN were assessed with ImageJ and Qupath software. The results were compared between the two groups using T-test. We found that the TDP-43 burden in the SN was higher in FTLD-MD+ (mean 3,43%, SD ± 2,7) compared to FTLD-MD- (mean 1,21%, SD ± 0,67) (p = 0,04), while no significant difference in nigral neuronal density was found between the groups (p = 0,09). 17% of FTLD-TDP patients developed MD, which present as symmetric akinetic-rigid parkinsonism or CBS. Given the absence of a significant nigral neuronal cell loss, TDP-43 induced neuronal dysfunction could be sufficient to cause MD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Pages (from-to)63
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Brain donors
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration
  • Movement disorders
  • Substantia nigra
  • TDP-43

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