Serum phosphorylated neurofilament-heavy chain levels in MS patients

Diagnosis, monitoring and biomarkers:
The three major neurofilament protein subunits (light, medium and heavy) form the backbone of the axonal cytoskeleton and, following axonal injury or death, can be detected in serum or cerebrospinal fluid allowing their potential use as biomarkers of neurodegeneration.

This study looked at detecting and measuring the level of serum phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNF-H) in serum samples of patients with MS (n=100), individuals with a first demyelinating event (n=82) and healthy control subjects (n=135). The researchers also looked at if there was any association between serum pNF-H levels and clinical and paraclinical measures of disease severity.

Results showed that a high pNF-H in the serum was detected in nine per cent of patients with RRMS and individuals with a first demyelinating event and in 38.5 per cent of patients with SPMS.

Higher average Multiple Sclerosis Severity Scale (MSSS) scores and higher T2 lesion volumes were seen in patients with high serum pNF-H titres. A subset of patients was re-sampled and this showed that pNF-H levels can fluctuate over time. This may be due to the temporal dynamics of axonal injury in MS. The routine measurement of serum pNF-H needs to be further investigated, as a prognostic indicator of disease outcome and therapeutic response in MS.

Gresle MM, Liu Y, Dagley LF
: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Mar 17. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-306789. [Epub ahead of print]
Read the abstract.


Latest MS research news

Main MS research areas

Challenges of MS research

Atacicept in multiple sclerosis: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 2 trial