Right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia is pathologically heterogeneous: a case-series and a systematic review

Netherlands Brain Bank

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Although the right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia (rtvFTD) is characterised by distinct clinical and radiological features, its underlying histopathology remains elusive. Being considered a right-sided variant of semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), TDP-43 type C pathology has been linked to the syndrome, but this has not been studied in detail in large cohorts. In this case report and systematic review, we report the autopsy results of five subjects diagnosed with rtvFTD from our cohort and 44 single rtvFTD subjects from the literature. Macroscopic pathological evaluation of the combined results revealed that rtvFTD demonstrated either a frontotemporal or temporal evolution, even if the degeneration started in the right temporal lobe initially. FTLD-TDP type C was the most common underlying pathology in rtvFTD, however, in 64% of rtvFTD, other underlying pathologies than FTLD-TDP type C were present, such as Tau-MAPT and FTLD-TDP type A and B. Additionally, accompanying motor neuron or corticospinal tract degeneration was observed in 28% of rtvFTD patients. Our results show that in contrast to the general assumption, rtvFTD might not be a pure FTLD-TDP type C disorder, unlike its left temporal counterpart svPPA. Large sample size pathological studies are warranted to understand the diverse pathologies of the right and left temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number131
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Pathology
  • Right temporal lobe atrophy
  • Semantic dementia
  • Tauopathies

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