Research: Further evidence that Neurofilaments are a useful biomarker to detect damage

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BACKGROUND: Axonal damage is considered a major cause of disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) and may start early in the disease. Specific biomarkers for this process are of great interest.
 
OBJECTIVE: To study if cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for axonal damage reflect and predict disease progression already in the earliest stages of the disease, that is, in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).
 
METHODS: We assessed CSF levels of neurofilament heavy (NFH), neurofilament light (NFL) and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in 67 patients with CIS and 18 controls with neuropsychiatric diseases of non-inflammatory aetiology (NC). Patients with CIS underwent baseline magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3T, and a follow-up MRI after 1 year was obtained in 28 of them.
 
RESULTS: Compared with NC, patients with CIS had higher NFH (p=0.05) and NFL (p<0.001) levels. No significant group differences were found for NAA. Patients’ NFH levels correlated with physical disability (r=0.304, p<0.05) and with change in brain volume over 1 year of follow-up (r=-0.518, p<0.01) but not with change in T2 lesion load.
 
CONCLUSION:  Our results confirm increased neurofilament levels already in CIS being related to the level of physical disability. The association of NFH levels with brain volume but not lesion volume changes supports the association of these markers with axonal damage.


This study looks at neurofilament an internal protein of nerves and examines its content in spinal fluid in people with their first symptoms of MS. This shows that neurofilament notably neurofilament light correlates with the occcurrance of disability, which suggests nerve damage.

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8 comments

  • So could this be used in clinical trials to see if a reduction of neurofilament is indicative of a positive impact of the drugs employed?

    • Is it also planned to use it by doctors to measure how much damage has already occured in patients? If so, how long must we wait?

    • Is it also planned to use it by doctors to measure how much damage has already occured in patients?

      I think it is an indicator of on going damage, so if it has occurred and stopped it may not be there

  • Green tea seems to increase neurofilament… well not really!!!

    What it did was that it STOPPED A DECREASE caused by the removal of the ovaries. This is not an INCREASE. The decrease reflected nerve damage and the relative increased levels of neurofilament compared to placebo is a bad use of English.

    • No wonder there is so much bad science about.
      Anyway, you'd have thought if green tea was really, really harmful, or really, really beneficial humanity would have worked that out by now. I just like the taste of it.
      Dim Sum anyone?

  • Anyway, you'd have thought if green tea was really, really harmful, or really, really beneficial humanity would have worked that out by now.

    Yep

    but evidence is what is needed as ever

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