Wong YYM, Bruijstens AL, Barro C, Michalak Z, Melief MJ, Wierenga AF, van Pelt ED, Neuteboom RF, Kuhle J and Hintzen RQ
Neurology. 2019 Aug 5. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008057. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008057.
To explore the correlation between serum and CSF neurofilament light chain (NfL) and the association of NfL levels and future disease activity in pediatric patients with a first attack of acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS).
In total, 102 children <18 years with a first attack of CNS demyelination and 23 age-matched controls were included. Clinically definite multiple sclerosis (CDMS) was set as an endpoint for analysis. CSF NfL was tested by the commercially available ELISA (UmanDiagnostics); serum NfL (sNfL) was tested with a Simoa assay. Hazard ratios (HR) were calculated with Cox regression analysis.
Of the 102 patients, 47 (46%) were tested for CSF NfL. CSF and serum NfL correlated significantly in the total group (ρ 0.532, p < 0.001) and even more significantly in the subgroup of patients with future CDMS diagnosis (ρ 0.773, p < 0.001). sNfL was higher in patients than in controls (geometric mean 6.1 pg/mL, p < 0.001), and was highest in ADS presenting with encephalopathy (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, n = 28, 100.4 pg/mL), followed by patients without encephalopathy (ADS-) with future CDMS diagnosis (n = 40, 32.5 pg/mL), and ADS- who remained monophasic (n = 34, 17.6 pg/mL). sNfL levels higher than a median of 26.7 pg/mL at baseline are associated with a shorter time to CDMS diagnosis in ADS- (p = 0.045). HR for CDMS diagnosis was 1.09 for each 10 pg/mL increase of sNfL, after correction for age, oligoclonal bands, and MRI measures (p = 0.012).
The significant correlation between CSF and serum NfL strengthens its reliability as a peripheral marker of neuroaxonal damage. Higher sNfL levels at baseline were associated with higher probability of future CDMS diagnosis in ADS-.