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Serum Neurofilament Light Protein As A Marker For Diffuse Axonal Injury – Results From A Case Series Study

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Journal Of Neurotrauma | August 19, 2016

Ljunggvist JC, Zetterberg H, Mitsis M, Blennow K, Skoglund TS.
Journal of Neurotrauma 
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2016.4496


Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is an important cause of morbidity in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). There is a lack of a simple and reliable technique to early identify patients with DAI and to prognosticate long-term outcome in this patient group. In the present study we examined acute serum concentrations of NFL (neurofilament light) in nine patients with severe TBI and DAI using a novel ultrasensitive Single molecule array (Simoa) assay. The relationships between the NFL concentrations and MRI in the acute stage as well as clinical outcome and MR-DTI parameters at 12 months were analysed. We found that the mean NFL concentrations among the patients displayed a 30-fold increase compared to the controls and that the NFL completely discriminated between the patients and the controls. We also found a relation between serum NFL and MR-DTI parameters, with higher NFL concentrations in patients with higher trace (R2=0.79) and lower FA (R2=0.83). These results suggest that serum NFL may be a valuable blood biomarker for TBI reflecting the severity of DAI.