Understanding the neural basis of episodic amnesia in logopenic progressive aphasia: a multimodal neuroimaging study

Siddharth Ramanan, Lars Marstaller, John R. Hodges, Olivier Piguet, Muireann Irish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Logopenic progressive aphasia (LPA) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by profound naming and sentence repetition disturbances, attributable to disproportionately left-sided temporo-parietal atrophy. Accumulating evidence suggests, in addition to language impairments, the presence of stark verbal and nonverbal episodic memory dysfunction in LPA. The neurocognitive bases of such impairments, however, remain to be clarified. Here, we characterised episodic memory disruption and its corresponding grey and white matter correlates in the LPA syndrome. Nineteen LPA patients were contrasted with 23 matched typical Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and 31 healthy Controls on standardized verbal and nonverbal episodic delayed recall measures. Participants further underwent structural magnetic resonance and diffusion-weighted imaging. Significant verbal memory deficits were evident in both patient groups, with LPA patients performing at an intermediate level to AD and Controls. For nonverbal memory, however, LPA performance was indistinguishable from that of AD, with both groups displaying marked impairments relative to Controls. Whole-brain voxel-based morphometry analyses revealed significant left temporo-parietal and left hippocampal atrophy in the LPA group. Covariate analyses showed that verbal and nonverbal amnesia in LPA correlated with grey matter integrity of bilateral frontoparietal and left medial temporal lobe regions. Notably, the common regions underpinning verbal and nonverbal memory dysfunction in LPA were the left orbitofrontal cortex and bilateral angular gyri in the inferior parietal cortex. The bilateral angular gyri, along with prefrontal and hippocampal regions further emerged as disease-general correlates of verbal and nonverbal memory performance. Alterations in mean diffusivity in structural connections between the left angular gyrus and medial temporal lobes were further associated with verbal memory performance in all participants. Our findings reveal, for the first time, the presence of pervasive memory impairments in LPA mediated by degeneration of a distributed prefrontal-hippocampal-parietal network, and disrupted parieto-hippocampal structural connectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-287
Number of pages16
JournalCortex
Volume125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Angular gyrus
  • Episodic memory
  • Hippocampus
  • Primary progressive aphasia

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