Publications & Posters

Dynamics and prognostic value of serum neurofilament light chain in Guillain-Barré syndrome

eBioMedicine | March 21, 2024

van Tilburg SJ, Teunissen CE, Maas CCHM, Thomma RCM, Walgaard C, Heijst H, Huizinga R, van Doorn PA, Jacobs BC

EBioMedicine. 2024



Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is a biomarker for axonal damage in several neurological disorders. We studied the longitudinal changes in serum NfL in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in relation to disease severity, electrophysiological subtype, treatment response, and prognosis.


We included patients with GBS who participated in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial that evaluated the effects of a second course of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) on clinical outcomes. Serum NfL levels were measured before initiation of treatment and at one, two, four, and twelve weeks using a Simoa HD-X Analyzer. Serum NfL dynamics were analysed using linear mixed-effects models. Logistic regression was employed to determine the associations of serum NfL with clinical outcome and the prognostic value of serum NfL after correcting for known prognostic markers included in the modified Erasmus GBS Outcome Score (mEGOS).


NfL levels were tested in serum from 281 patients. Serum NfL dynamics were associated with disease severity and electrophysiological subtype. Strong associations were found between high levels of serum NfL at two weeks and inability to walk unaided at four weeks (OR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.27–2.45), and high serum NfL levels at four weeks and inability to walk unaided at 26 weeks (OR = 2.79, 95% CI = 1.72–4.90). Baseline serum NfL had the most significant prognostic value for ability to walk, independent of predictors included in the mEGOS. The time to regain ability to walk unaided was significantly longer for patients with highest serum NfL levels at baseline (p = 0.0048) and week 2 (p < 0.0001). No differences in serum NfL were observed between patients that received a second IVIg course vs. IVIg and placebo.


Serum NfL levels are associated with disease severity, axonal involvement, and poor outcome in GBS. Serum NfL potentially represents a biomarker to monitor neuronal damage in GBS and an intermediate endpoint to evaluate the effects of treatment.