Publications & Posters

High Serum Neurofilament Light Chain Normalizes After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation For MS


Thebault S, R. Tessier D, Lee H, Bowman M, Bar-Or A, Arnold DL, L. Atkins H, Tabard-Cossa V and Freedman MS.

Neurology – Neuroimmunology Neuroinflammation.




To evaluate neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in serum and CSF of patients with aggressive MS pre- and post-treatment with immunoablation followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (IAHSCT) and examine associations with clinical and MRI outcomes.


Paired serum and CSF in addition to MRI and clinical measures were collected on 23 patients with MS at baseline and 1 and 3 years post-IAHSCT. An additional 33 sera and CSF pairs were taken from noninflammatory neurologic controls. NfL levels were quantitated using the Simoa platform (Quanterix).


Baseline MS NfL levels were significantly elevated relative to controls in serum (p = 0.001) and CSF (p = 0.001). Following IAHSCT, high pretreatment NfL levels significantly reduced in serum (p = 0.0023) and CSF (p = 0.0068) and were not significantly different from controls. Serum and CSF NfL levels highly correlated (r = 0.81, p < 0.0001). Baseline NfL levels were associated with worse pretreatment disease measures (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS], relapses, MRI lesions, and MR spectroscopy (MRS) N-acetylaspartate/creatine). Elevated baseline NfL levels were associated with persistently worse indices of disease burden post-IAHSCT (sustained EDSS progression, cognition, quality of life, T1 and T2 lesion volumes, MRS, and brain atrophy).


These data substantiate that serum and CSF NfL levels reflect disease severity and treatment response in patients with MS and may therefore be a useful biomarker. Baseline serum levels associated with markers of pretreatment disease severity and post-treatment outcomes.

Classification of evidence 

This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with aggressive MS, serum NfL levels are associated with disease severity.