UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Immune system implicated in dementia development

18 June 2014

The immune system and body’s response to damaged cells play a key role in the development of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), finds new research led by the UCL Institute of Neurology.

These findings will enable researchers to develop new treatments that target the body’s response to damaged cells. FTD is the second most common form of young-onset dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is caused when nerve cells in the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain die and the pathways connecting them change. In the majority of cases, the disease is not inherited.

The study, published in Lancet Neurology, involved more than 40 research groups from Europe, Australia and the US who contributed several thousand FTD cases for analysis.

The study found evidence of two key processes driving FTD development.

This finding in FTD raises interesting parallels with Parkinson’s Disease, another neurodegenerative disease that has been linked to similar processes.

Further information:


  • Diagram showing areas of the brain affected by FTD