Publications & Posters

Neurofilament Levels, Disease Activity and Brain Volume During Follow-up in Multiple Sclerosis


Hakansson I, Tisell A, Cassel P, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Lundberg P, Dahle C, Vrethem M and Ernerudh J.

J Neuroinflammation. 2018 Jul 18;15(1):209

DOI: 10.1186/s12974-018-1249-7

This study was peformed using a Simoa® Homebrew assay.



There is a need for clinically useful biomarkers of disease activity in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between neurofilament light chain (NFL) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum and the relationship between NFL and other biomarkers, subsequent disease activity, and brain volume loss in CIS and RRMS.


A panel of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory markers were analyzed in repeated CSF samples from 41 patients with CIS or RRMS in a prospective longitudinal cohort study and from 22 healthy controls. NFL in serum was analyzed using a single-molecule array (Simoa) method. “No evidence of disease activity-3” (NEDA-3) status and brain volume (brain parenchymal fraction calculated using SyMRI®) were recorded during 4 years of follow-up.


NFL levels in CSF and serum correlated significantly (all samples, n = 63, r 0.74, p < 0.001), but CSF-NFL showed an overall stronger association profile with NEDA-3 status, new T2 lesions, and brain volume loss. CSF-NFL was associated with both new T2 lesions and brain volume loss during follow-up, whereas CSF-CHI3L1 was associated mainly with brain volume loss and CXCL1, CXCL10, CXCL13, CCL22, and MMP-9 were associated mainly with new T2 lesions.


Serum and CSF levels of NFL correlate, but CSF-NFL predicts and reflects disease activity better than S-NFL. CSF-NFL levels are associated with both new T2 lesions and brain volume loss. Our findings further add to the accumulating evidence that CSF-NFL is a clinically useful biomarker in CIS and RRMS and should be considered in the expanding NEDA concept. CSF-CXCL10 and CSF-CSF-CHI3L1 are potential markers of disease activity and brain volume loss, respectively.