DOI: 10.1002/alz.072096 ISSN: 1552-5260

Altered anterior insular metabolic connectivity in asymptomatic MAPT P301L carriers

Min Chu, Binbin Nie, Deming Jiang, Liyong Wu
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



The insula is the predominant brain region impaired in behavior variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). However, structural and functional changes in the sub‐insula in the asymptomatic stage of bvFTD are unknown. The aim of this study is to describe structural and functional changes in insular subregions in asymptomatic carriers of the P301L mutation of the microtubule‐associated protein tau (MAPT) gene and patients with bvFTD.


Six asymptomatic MAPT P301L mutation carriers and 12 MAPT negative control subjects of the same pedigree were enrolled, along with 30 patients with a clinical diagnosis of bvFTD and 30 matched controls. All subjects underwent hybrid positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging. Atlas‐based parcellation using a fine‐grained Brainnetome Atlas was conducted to assess gray matter (GM) volume, metabolism, and metabolic connectivity in the sub‐insula (region of interest).


There was no significant GM atrophy or hypometabolism in insula subregions in asymptomatic MAPT P301L carriers, although decreased metabolic connectivity between vIa‐middle temporal gyrus, vIa‐temporal poles, dIa‐middle temporal gyrus and dIa‐temporal poles; and increased connectivity between vIa‐orbitofrontal, vIa‐dorsal lateral superior frontal gyrus, and dIa‐orbitofrontal and dIa‐dorsal lateral superior frontal gyrus were observed. Patients with bvFTD had significant atrophy and hypometabolism in all insula subregions and decreased metabolic connectivity in the whole brain, including vIa/dIa‐middle temporal and vIa/dIa‐temporal poles. The standardized uptake value ratios of vIa and dIa were negatively associated with behavioral disinhibition scale scores.


Metabolic connectivity is altered in vIa and dIa subregions of the sub‐insula in MAPT P301L mutation carriers before the occurrence of atrophy, hypometabolism, and clinical symptoms.

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