Different Clinical Contexts Of Use Of Blood Neurofilament Light Chain Protein In The Spectrum Of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Palermo G, Mazzucchi S, Della Vecchia A, Siciliano G, Bonuccelli U, Azuar C, Ceravolo R, Lista S, Hampel H and Baldacci F
Mol Neurobiol (2020)
One of the most pressing challenges in the clinical research of neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) is the validation and standardization of pathophysiological biomarkers for different contexts of use (CoUs), such as early detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction of treatment response. Neurofilament light chain (NFL) concentration is a particularly promising candidate, an indicator of axonal degeneration, which can be analyzed in peripheral blood with advanced ultrasensitive methods. Serum/plasma NFL concentration is closely correlated with cerebrospinal fluid NFL and directly reflects neurodegeneration within the central nervous system. Here, we provide an update on the feasible CoU of blood NFL in NDDs and translate recent findings to potentially valuable clinical practice applications. As NFL is not a disease-specific biomarker, however, blood NFL is an easily accessible biomarker with promising different clinical applications for several NDDs: (1) early detection and diagnosis (i.e., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, atypical parkinsonisms, sporadic late-onset ataxias), (2) prognosis (Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease), and (3) prediction of time to symptom onset (presymptomatic mutation carriers in genetic Alzheimer’s disease and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3).