Publications & Posters

Plasma neurofilament light chain level predicts outcomes in stroke patients receiving endovascular thrombectomy

Journal of Neuroinflammation | September 12, 2021

Chen CH, Chu HJ, Hwang YT, Lin YH, Lee CW, Tang SC and Jeng JS

Journal of neuroinflammation. 2021;18:195



Timely endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) significantly improves outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) with large vessel occlusion type. However, whether certain central nervous system-specific plasma biomarkers correlate with the outcomes is unknown. We evaluated the temporal changes and prognostic roles of the levels of these biomarkers in patients with AIS undergoing EVT.


We enrolled 60 patients who received EVT for AIS and 14 controls. The levels of plasma biomarkers, namely neurofilament light chain (NfL), glial fibrillary astrocytic protein (GFAP), tau, and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1), were measured with an ultrasensitive single molecule array before, immediately after, and 24 h after EVT (T1, T2, and T3, respectively). The outcomes of interest were death or disability at 90 days (defined as a modified Rankin Scale score of 3–6) and types of hemorrhagic transformation (hemorrhagic infarction or parenchymal hemorrhage).


Of the 180 blood samples from the 60 patients who received EVT, the plasma NfL, GFAP, and UCHL1 levels at T1 were significantly higher than those of the controls, and the levels of all four biomarkers were significantly higher at T3. Patients with parenchymal hemorrhage had a significantly higher rate of increase in GFAP (Pinteraction = 0.005) and UCHL1 (Pinteraction = 0.007) levels compared with those without parenchymal hemorrhage. In a multivariable analysis with adjustment for age, sex, National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score, history of atrial fibrillation, and recanalization status, higher NfL levels at T1 (odds ratio [OR] 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03–4.08), T2 (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.05–4.01), and T3 (OR, 3.94; 95% CI, 1.44–10.79) were independent predictors of death or disability at 90 days.


Among patients with AIS who received EVT, those with hemorrhagic transformation exhibited significant increase in plasma GFAP and UCHL1 levels over time. Higher plasma NfL were predictive of unfavorable functional outcomes.