Dissemination in time and space in presymptomatic granulin mutation carriers: a GENFI spatial chronnectome study

GENetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), Enrico Premi, Marcello Giunta, Armin Iraji, Srinivas Rachakonda, Vince D. Calhoun, Stefano Gazzina, Alberto Benussi, Roberto Gasparotti, Silvana Archetti, Martina Bocchetta, Dave Cash, Emily Todd, Georgia Peakman, Rhian Convery, John C. van Swieten, Lize Jiskoot, Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Fermin Moreno, Robert LaforceCaroline Graff, Matthis Synofzik, Daniela Galimberti, James B. Rowe, Mario Masellis, Carmela Tartaglia, Elizabeth Finger, Rik Vandenberghe, Alexandre de Mendonça, Fabrizio Tagliavini, Chris R. Butler, Isabel Santana, Alexander Gerhard, Isabelle Le Ber, Florence Pasquier, Simon Ducharme, Johannes Levin, Adrian Danek, Sandro Sorbi, Markus Otto, Jonathan D. Rohrer, Barbara Borroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presymptomatic brain changes of granulin (GRN) disease, preceding by years frontotemporal dementia, has not been fully characterized. New approaches focus on the spatial chronnectome can capture both spatial network configurations and their dynamic changes over time. To investigate the spatial dynamics in 141 presymptomatic GRN mutation carriers and 282 noncarriers from the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia research Initiative cohort. We considered time-varying patterns of the default mode network, the language network, and the salience network, each summarized into 4 distinct recurring spatial configurations. Dwell time (DT) (the time each individual spends in each spatial state of each network), fractional occupacy (FO) (the total percentage of time spent by each individual in a state of a specific network) and total transition number (the total number of transitions performed by each individual in a specifict state) were considered. Correlations between DT, FO, and transition number and estimated years from expected symptom onset (EYO) and clinical performances were assessed. Presymptomatic GRN mutation carriers spent significantly more time in those spatial states characterised by greater activation of the insula and the parietal cortices, as compared to noncarriers (p < 0.05, FDR-corrected). A significant correlation between DT and FO of these spatial states and EYO was found, the longer the time spent in the spatial states, the closer the EYO. DT and FO significantly correlated with performances at tests tapping processing speed, with worse scores associated with increased spatial states’ DT. Our results demonstrated that presymptomatic GRN disease presents a complex dynamic reorganization of brain connectivity. Change in both the spatial and temporal aspects of brain network connectivity could provide a unique glimpse into brain function and potentially allowing a more sophisticated evaluation of the earliest disease changes and the understanding of possible mechanisms in GRN disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiol. Aging
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • dynamic functional network connectivity
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • GRN mutation
  • resting-state functional MRI
  • spatial chronnectome


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