Publications & Posters

Comparative diagnosis interest of NfL and pNfH in CSF and plasma in a context of FTD-ALS spectrum

Journal of Neurology | July 27, 2021

Escal J, Fourier A, Formaglio M, Zimmer L, Bernard E, Mollion H, Bost M, Herrmann M, Ollagnon-Roman E, Quadrio I and Dorey JM

Journal of neurology. 2021




The ‘Frontotemporal dementia–Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Spectrum’ (FAS) encompasses different phenotypes, including cognitive disorders (frontotemporal dementia, FTD) and/or motor impairments (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS). The aim of this study was to apprehend the specific uses of neurofilaments light chain (NfL) and phosphorylated neurofilaments heavy chain (pNfH) in a context of FAS.


First, NfL and pNfH were measured in 39 paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma samples of FAS and primary psychiatric disorders (PPD) patients, considered as controls. Secondly, additional plasma samples were included to examine a larger cohort of 81 samples composed of symptomatic FAS and PPD patients, presymptomatic and non-carrier relatives individuals. The measures were performed using Simoa technology.


There was a positive correlation between CSF and plasma values for NfL (p < 0.0001) and for pNfH (p = 0.0036). NfL values were higher for all phenotypes of symptomatic FAS patients compared to PPD patients (p = 0.0016 in CSF; p = 0.0003 in plasma). On the contrary, pNfH values were solely increased in FAS patients exhibiting motor impairment. Unlike symptomatic FAS patients, presymptomatic cases had comparable concentrations with non-carrier individuals.


NfL, but not pNfH, appeared to be useful in a context of differential diagnosis between FTD and psychiatric patients. Nevertheless, pNfH seem more specific for the diagnosis and follow-up of motor impairments. In each specific indication, measures in CSF and plasma will provide identical interpretations.