Neurofilament a marker of worse disease outcome

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Petzold A, Plant GT. The diagnostic and prognostic value of neurofilament heavy chain levels in immune-mediated optic neuropathies. Mult Scler Int. 2012;2012:217802. doi: 10.1155/2012/217802.

Background. Loss of visual function differs between immune-mediated optic neuropathies and is related to axonal loss in the optic nerve. This study investigated the diagnostic and prognostic value of a biomarker for neurodegeneration, the neurofilament heavy chain (NfH) in three immune-mediated optic neuropathies. 


Methods. A prospective, longitudinal study including patients with optic neuritis due to multiple sclerosis (MSON, n = 20), chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuritis (CRION, n = 19), neuromyelitis optica (NMO, n = 9), and healthy controls (n = 28). Serum NfH-SMI35 levels were quantified by ELISA.
Results. Serum NfH-SMI35 levels were highest in patients with NMO (mean 0.79 ± 1.51 ng/mL) compared to patients with CRION (0.13 ± 0.16 ng/mL, P = 0.007), MSON (0.09 ± 0.09, P = 0.008), and healthy controls (0.01 ± 0.02 ng/mL, P = 0.001). High serum NfH-SMI35 levels were related to poor visual outcome. 

Conclusions. Blood NfH-SMI35 levels are of moderate diagnostic and more important prognostic value in immune-mediated optic neuropathies. We speculate that longitudinal blood NfH levels may help to identify particular disabling events in relapsing conditions.

Yet more evidence that Prof G may have it right when thinking about monitoring neurofilament (neurofilament light) in clinical trials to monitor progression. If you find neurofilament it is indicative that nerves are being damaged.

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