Publications & Posters

Plasma PNFH Differentiate SBMA From ALS

BIORXIV 

Lombardi V, Bombaci A, Zampedri L, Lu C-H, Malik B, Zetterberg H, Heslegrave A, Rinaldi C, Greensmith L, Hanna M, Malaspina A and Fratta P.

bioRxiv. 2019:549576.

DOI: 10.1101/549576

Abstract

Background and aim: Spinal bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a progressive adult-onset X-linked neuromuscular disease. Although traditionally considered a motor neuron disorder, recent advances have highlighted a primary myopathic component. We evaluated levels of phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH), a known biomarker for neurodegeneration, in SBMA. Materials and methods: We collected plasma and serum from 46 SBMA, 50 ALS and 50 healthy control cases, alongside with plasma from a mouse model of SBMA (AR100) and littermate controls. We measured pNfH plasma levels using Single molecule array (Simoa), we assessed functional scales and we gathered demographic data. We analysed data using Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis test and Cox regression analysis. Results: Plasma pNfH levels were significantly increased in ALS, but, intriguingly, there was no change in SBMA. These results were also confirmed in SBMA mice. The ROC curve highlighted that pNfH levels can effectively distinguish between ALS and SBMA (AUC 0.95). Conclusions: Unexpectedly, levels of pNfH are normal in SBMA, whilst they are increased in ALS, and suggest pNfH could serve as a biomarker to differentiate the two diseases. Further, this finding is in agreement with recent evidence showing that primary muscle damage is a crucial feature in SBMA.