Publications & Posters

Extracellular vesicle concentrations of glial fibrillary acidic protein and neurofilament light measured 1 year after traumatic brain injury

Scientific Reports | February 16, 2021

Flynn S, Leete J, Shahim P, Pattinson C, Guedes VA, Lai C, Devoto C, Qu BX, Greer K, Moore B, van der Merwe A, Ekanayake V, Gill J and Chan L

Sci Rep. 2021;11:3896



Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is linked to long-term symptoms in a sub-set of patients who sustain an injury, but this risk is not universal, leading us and others to question the nature of individual variability in recovery trajectories. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a promising, novel avenue to identify blood-based biomarkers for TBI. Here, our aim was to determine if glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and neurofilament light (NfL) measured 1-year postinjury in EVs could distinguish patients from controls, and whether these biomarkers relate to TBI severity or recovery outcomes. EV GFAP and EV NfL were measured using an ultrasensitive assay in 72 TBI patients and 20 controls. EV GFAP concentrations were elevated in moderate and severe TBI compared to controls (p’s < 0.001) and could distinguish controls from moderate (AUC = 0.86) or severe TBI (AUC = 0.88). Increased EV GFAP and EV NfL levels were associated with lower 1-year Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOS-E) score (p’s < 0.05). These findings suggest that blood-derived EV concentrations of GFAP and NfL drawn even 1 year after injury are higher in TBI patients compared to controls, and are related to injury severity and poor recovery outcomes, suggesting that TBIs alter the activity of these biomarkers, likely contributing to individual variability in recovery.

This study was performed using the Quanterix HD-1 Analyzer.