Plasma neurofilament light chain and glial fibrillary acidic protein predict stroke in CADASIL

Journal of Neuroinflammation
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Chen CH, Cheng YW, Chen YF, Tang SC and Jeng JS

J Neuroinflammation. 2020 Apr 22;17(1):124

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-020-01813-5

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND:

Stroke remains the most cumbersome disease burden in patients with cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). This study aimed to investigate whether plasma biomarkers can reflect disease severity and predict stroke recurrence in CADASIL patients.

METHODS:

Sixty-three CADASIL patients (mean age 58.9 ± 9.3 years old, male 63%) from a multicenter registry and 17 controls were recruited. Plasma biomarkers, namely neurofilament light chain (NfL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), tau, and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1), were measured using an ultra-sensitive single molecule array at baseline. Neuroimaging markers assessed included the Fazekas scale of white matter hyperintensity, numbers of lacunes, and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs). Cox proportional hazards regression models were applied to calculate the hazard ratio (HR) of plasma biomarkers at baseline for predicting incident stroke during follow-up.

RESULTS:

Plasma NfL, GFAP, and UCHL1 levels were significantly elevated in the CADASIL patients than in the controls. Among the CADASIL patients, both plasma NfL and GFAP levels positively correlated with the numbers of CMBs (r = 0.32 and r = 0.37, respectively; both p < 0.05). Higher plasma levels of NfL and GFAP were associated with any stroke (odds ratio 2.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-3.87) and ICH (odds ratio 2.06, 95% CI 1.26-3.35) at baseline, respectively. Within a mean follow-up period of 3.1 ± 2.1 years, 10 patients (16%) had incident stroke and 6 of them were ICH. Higher baseline NfL (HR 1.93, 95% CI 1.19-3.13) predicted any incident stroke, whereas higher GFAP (HR 2.80, 95% CI 1.21-6.53) predicted incident ICH.

CONCLUSIONS:

In CADASIL patients, plasma NfL can be a promising biomarker for monitoring incident stroke, whereas GFAP may have a role in cerebral hemorrhage.

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