The relationship between neurofilament light chain and cognition in neurological disorders: A scoping review
JOURNAL OF THE NEUROLOGICAL SCIENCES | NOVEMBER 24, 2020
Ramani S, Berard JA and Walker LAS.
J Neurol Sci. 2020 Nov 24;117229
Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is an emerging biomarker of neural degeneration. NfL is an integral component of axons and is released into the bloodstream and cerebrospinal fluid during neurodegeneration; hence it can be used to monitor disease progression. Given that several neurological disorders are accompanied by cognitive decline, recent literature has investigated the relationship between NfL levels and cognition. The objective of this scoping review was to determine whether a consistent relationship between NfL and cognition exists in the context of variable degrees of neurodegeneration present across several neurological disorders. Four electronic databases were searched for relevant articles and 160 articles were initially identified. After article screening, 37 studies met the final inclusion criteria. Studies were then qualitatively synthesized to determine the relationship between NfL and cognition across a variety of neurological disorders. The large majority of studies found that NfL levels are inversely correlated with cognition, such that higher NfL levels are associated with poorer cognition. This relationship was not universal, however, and this discrepancy was speculated to be due to the nature of the neurological disorder, individual differences between participants, or methodological inconsistencies. Further study is required, and associated recommendations were proposed for the design of future investigations.