Publications & Posters

Neurofilament light predicts neurological outcome after subarachnoid haemorrhage

Brain: A Journal of Neurology | January 31, 2021

Garland P, Morton M, Zolnourian A, Durnford A, Gaastra B, Toombs J, Heslegrave AJ, More J, Zetterberg H, Bulters DO and Galea I

Brain, awaa451



To improve outcome prediction following subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), we sought a biomarker integrating early brain injury and multiple secondary pathological processes in a prospective study of 42 non-traumatic SAH patients and 19 control individuals. Neurofilament light (NF-L) was elevated in CSF and serum following SAH. CSF and serum NF-L on Days 1–3 post-SAH strongly predicted modified Rankin score at 6 months, independent of World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) score. NF-L from Day 4 onwards also had a profound impact on outcome. To link NF-L to a SAH-specific pathological process, we investigated NF-L’s relationship with extracellular haemoglobin. Most CSF haemoglobin was not complexed with haptoglobin, yet was able to be bound by exogenous haptoglobin i.e. haemoglobin was scavengeable. CSF scavengeable haemoglobin was strongly predictive of subsequent CSF NF-L. Next, we investigated NF-L efflux from the brain after SAH. Serum and CSF NF-L correlated positively. The serum/CSF NF-L ratio was lower in SAH versus control subjects, in keeping with glymphatic efflux dysfunction after SAH. CSF/serum albumin ratio was increased following SAH versus controls. The serum/CSF NF-L ratio correlated negatively with the CSF/serum albumin ratio, indicating that transfer of the two proteins across the blood–brain interface is dissociated. In summary, NF-L is a strong predictive marker for SAH clinical outcome, adding value to the WFNS score, and is a promising surrogate end point in clinical trials.

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