Publications & Posters

Blood-based cerebral biomarkers in preeclampsia: Plasma concentrations of Nf-L, tau, S100B and NSE during pregnancy in women who later develop preeclampsia – A nested case control study.

PLOS ONE | MAY 03, 2019

Bergman L, Zetterberg H, Kaihola H, Hagberg H, Blennow K and Akerud H

PLoS One. 2018;13:e0196025

DOI: 0.1371/journal.pone.0196025



To evaluate if concentrations of the neuronal proteins neurofilament light chain and tau are changed in women developing preeclampsia and to evaluate the ability of a combination of neurofilament light chain, tau, S100B and neuron specific enolase in identifying neurologic impairment before diagnosis of preeclampsia.


A nested case-control study within a longitudinal study cohort was performed. 469 healthy pregnant women were enrolled between 2004-2007 and plasma samples were collected at gestational weeks 10, 25, 28, 33 and 37. Plasma concentrations of tau and neurofilament light chain were analyzed in 16 women who eventually developed preeclampsia and 36 controls throughout pregnancy with single molecule array (Simoa) method and compared within and between groups. S100B and NSE had been analyzed previously in the same study population. A statistical model with receiving characteristic operation curve was constructed with the four biomarkers combined.


Plasma concentrations of neurofilament light chain were significantly increased in women who developed preeclampsia in gestational week 33 (11.85 ng/L, IQR 7.48-39.93 vs 6.80 ng/L, IQR 5.65-11.40) and 37 (22.15 ng/L, IQR 10.93-35.30 vs 8.40 ng/L, IQR 6.40-14.30) and for tau in gestational week 37 (4.33 ng/L, IQR 3.97-12.83 vs 3.77 ng/L, IQR 1.91-5.25) in contrast to healthy controls. A combined model for preeclampsia with tau, neurofilament light chain, S100B and neuron specific enolase in gestational week 25 displayed an area under the curve of 0.77, in week 28 it was 0.75, in week 33 it was 0.89 and in week 37 it was 0.83. Median week for diagnosis of preeclampsia was at 38 weeks of gestation.


Concentrations of both tau and neurofilament light chain are increased in the end of pregnancy in women developing preeclampsia in contrast to healthy pregnancies. Cerebral biomarkers might reflect cerebral involvement before onset of disease.