The N279K mutation on the tau gene of chromosome 17 leads to an inherited condition that involves pallido-ponto-nigral degeneration (PPND). Patients with PPND develop dementia, but the pattern and onset of cognitive dysfunction has not yet been delineated. Four affected patients underwent neurocognitive evaluation within the first 2 years of PPND motor onset; one of whom underwent five serial neurocognitive evaluations, and another who was not diagnosed with PPND until the third annual evaluation. Impaired letter fluency was found in the early stages of PPND and was also shown to precede the onset of motor symptoms by 2 years. Trail Making A (visual scanning and motor speed) and Trail Making B (divided attention) were impaired within the first 2 years of the disease in all but one patient, but this individual showed clinically significant decline on these tasks by the third year of the disease. Learning, memory, and timed visuospatial sequencing skills were variably affected. Results reveal disproportionate frontal-executive dysfunction early in PPND disease course, a pattern similar to what has been reported in other FTDP-17 kindreds and in sporadic PSP. In addition, results suggest that letter fluency may be a sensitive predictor of incipient PPND.
- Frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17
- N279K tau mutation
- Pallido-ponto-nigral degeneration
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Clinical Neurology