MDPI, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16(20), p. 3903, 2019
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a common form of dementia among early-onset cases. Several genetic factors for FTD have been revealed, but a large proportion of FTD cases still have an unidentified genetic origin. Recent studies highlighted common pathobiological mechanisms among neurodegenerative diseases. In the present study, we investigated a panel of candidate genes, previously described to be associated with FTD and/or other neurodegenerative diseases by targeted next generation sequencing (NGS). We focused our study on sporadic FTD (sFTD), devoid of disease-causing mutations in GRN, MAPT and C9orf72. Since genetic factors have a substantially higher pathogenetic contribution in early onset patients than in late onset dementia, we selected patients with early onset (<65 years). Our study revealed that, in 50% of patients, rare missense potentially pathogenetic variants in genes previously associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Lewy body dementia (GBA, ABCA7, PARK7, FUS, SORL1, LRRK2, ALS2), confirming genetic pleiotropy in neurodegeneration. In parallel, a synergic genetic effect on FTD is suggested by the presence of variants in five different genes in one single patient. Further studies employing genome-wide approaches might highlight pathogenic variants in novel genes that explain the still missing heritability of FTD.