No change in plasma tau and serum neurofilament light concentrations in adolescent athletes following sport-related concussion

PLOS ONE
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Wallace C, Zetterberg H, Blennow K and van Donkelaar P.

PLoS One. 2018 Oct 29;13(10):e0206466.


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206466

ABSTRACT: 

Sport-related concussion (SRC), a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), is a common injury in contact sports. Health care professionals rely on subjective criteria (e.g., symptoms), as there is no objective marker for identification of athletes with SRC. Blood-based biomarkers have shown promise as diagnostic and prognostic tools following TBI and SRC. In the present study, we examined plasma tau and serumNF-L, two biomarkers for neuronal/axonal injury, concentrations at preseason and following SRC in contact sport athletes (n = 11) using ultrasensitive single molecule array (Simoa) assays. Preseason baseline samples were collected, and post-concussion samples were obtained at 6- and 14-days following injury. We found no difference between baseline, 6-day and 14-day post-concussion concentrations of tau (p = 0.14) or NF-L (p = 0.53). Further, no difference was found between preseason baseline and all post-SRC samples for tau (p = 0.22) or NF-L (p = 0.98). The total number of symptoms reported on the Standardized Assessment of Concussion- 3rd Edition (SCAT3) and associated symptom severity scores increased from preseason to 6-days post-SRC but returned to baseline values at 14-days (p = 0.02 and p = 0.003, respectively). These results suggest that the severity of neuronal injury in this cohort of contact sport athletes with clinical uncomplicated SRC was too low to be detected by tau and NF-L measurements in blood samples obtained at 6- and 14-days post-injury.