Publications & Posters

Serum Neurofilament Light Is Increased In Multiple System Atrophy Of Cerebellar Type And In Repeat-expansion Spinocerebellar Ataxias: A Pilot Study


Carlo Wilke, Friedemann Bender, Stefanie N. Hayer, Kathrin Brockmann, Ludger Schöls, Jens Kuhle, Matthis Synofzik

Journal of Neurology

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-018-8893-9

Blood biomarkers in degenerative ataxias are still largely missing. Here, we aimed to provide piloting proof-of-concept that serumNeurofilament light (NfL) could offer a promising peripheral blood biomarker in degenerative ataxias. Specifically, as a marker of neuronal damage, NfL might (1) help to differentiate multiple system atrophy of cerebellar type (MSA-C) from sporadic adult-onset ataxia (SAOA), and (2) show increases in repeat-expansion spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) which might be amenable to treatment in the future. To explore these two hypotheses, we measured serum NfL levels by single-molecule array (Simoa) technique in 115 subjects, comprising patients with MSA-C (n = 25), SAOA (n = 25), the most frequent repeat-expansion SCAs (SCA 1, 2, 3 and 6) (n = 20), and age-matched controls (n = 45). Compared to controls, NfL was significantly increased in MSA-C, with levels significantly higher than in SAOA (AUC = 0.74 (0.59-0.89), mean and 95% confidence interval, p = .004). NfL was also significantly increased in SCA patients as compared to controls (AUC = 0.91 (0.81-1.00), p < .001), including NfL increases in SCA1 and SCA3. These findings provide first proof-of-concept that NfL might provide a promising peripheral biomarker in degenerative ataxias, e.g. supporting the differentiation of MSA-C from SAOA, and indicating neuronal damage in repeat-expansion SCAs.