BACKGROUND: While primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) pathology due to tau or TDP, clinical-pathological studies also demonstrate many cases have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. The logopenic variant of PPA (lvPPA) is most often associated with AD pathology, but this has proven to be the least reliable PPA to diagnose using published clinical criteria. In this study, we used cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analytes to identify patients with likely AD pathology, and relate phenotypic features of lvPPA to CSF.
METHODS: We studied 46 PPA patients who had available CSF analytes, including 26 with a clinical diagnosis of lvPPA, 9 with nonfluent/agrammatic variant (naPPA), and 11 with semantic variant (svPPA). We identified patients with likely AD pathology using amyloid-beta 1-42 (Aβ1-42) <192 pg/ml and assessed MRI gray matter atrophy in these patients. RESULTS: We found that 23 (49%) of 46 PPA patients have a low CSF Aβ1-42 level consistent with AD pathology. Twenty-one (91%) of 23 patients had a lvPPA phenotype, and 18 (79%) of 23 cases with an elevated CSF Aβ1-42 level did not have a lvPPA phenotype. Patients with a lvPPA phenotype demonstrated GM atrophy in the left lateral temporal lobe, and this was also seen in those with a CSF Aβ1-42 level <192 pg/ml. CONCLUSION: The lvPPA clinical phenotype may be a useful screen for CSF analytes that are a surrogate for likely AD pathology, and may help establish eligibility of these patients for disease-modifying treatment trials.