Clinical phenotypes in autopsy-confirmed pick disease

O. Piguet*, G. M. Halliday, W. G J Reid, B. Casey, R. Carman, Y. Huang, J. H. Xuereb, J. R. Hodges, J. J. Kril

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Neuropathology of frontotemporal lobar degeneration is variable and relationship between the pathology and the clinical presentation remains uncertain. Abnormal deposits of hyperphosphorylated and ubiquitinated tau protein are present in 30% of cases, which include the classic presentation of Pick disease with argyrophilic, intraneuronal inclusions known as Pick bodies. This study aimed to improve sensitivity of clinicopathologic relations in cases with neuropathologically confirmed Pick disease and to identify clinical symptoms and signs predictive of disease progression. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 21 cases with a pathologic diagnosis of Pick disease and sufficient clinical information to establish early presenting clinical features from 2 specialist centers, representing 70% of all cases of Pick disease identified between 1998 and 2007 in these centers. Results: At presentation, 13/21 cases (62%) were clinically diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and 8/21 (38%) with language variant frontotemporal dementia (lvFTD) including 2 with mixed syndromes. Patients with bvFTD died on average 5 years earlier than those with lvFTD (7 years vs 12 years after disease onset). Pathologically, fewer Pick bodies were present in the frontal and inferior temporal cortices of bvFTD than lvFTD cases. In contrast, both groups showed decreased neuronal density in the dentate gyrus with increasing disease duration. Conclusions: The pathologic course of the disease in FTLD cases with Pick bodies is not uniform and disease duration can be estimated based on early clinical features. These findings have relevance as treatment options, which are likely to be pathology specific, are developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


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