Blood based biomarkers will be essential and would be welcome by clinicians, researchers; and the public because in general, they are cheaper, easier to administer, less invasive, and more accessible than all other technologies currently available.
Blood levels of neurofilament light can distinguish patients with several different neurodegenerative conditions from healthy people, new research indicates. but it could be “valuable as a relatively inexpensive and fast test for accumulating neurodegeneration in the brain” when used in the clinic and in clinical trials.
However, in both cohorts, NfL concentrations were abnormal in only 20% to 30% of those with AD; “which is not the best,” Hye telling the briefing. The researchers replicated this finding using data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). To investigate whether NfL is a “cross neurodegenerative” blood-based biomarker, the researchers compared plasma NfL concentrations across multiple neurodegenerative and neurologic conditions in more than 2300 individuals from two cohorts.
But neurofilament light is a structural protein that forms the internal skeleton of neurons. When neurons are damaging; NfL is releasing into cerebrospinal fluid and blood. It is currently being studied as a potential biomarker for many different neurologic diseases. Using a plasma NfL concentration cutoff of 44.7 pg/mL, abnormal levels predicted more than 80% of cases of ALS, 100% of cases DS-D, 60% of cases of CBS, and more than 50% of FTD cases.
To investigate whether NfL is a “cross neurodegenerative” blood-based biomarker; the researchers compared plasma NfL concentrations across multiple neurodegenerative; and neurologic conditions in more than 2300 individuals from two cohorts. Conditions included mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson disease.
The lowest average NfL concentrations were finding in control persons and clinically depressed individuals. The highest plasma NfL concentrations were finding in patients with ALS, and DLB. Comparing with control persons; statistically significant differences in plasma NfL concentrations were observing for patients with FTD; corticobasal syndrome, DS-D, DLB, and ALS.
NfL in the blood is a sign of axonal damage in the brain; but it’s not specific to any one neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer’s disease. But it still could have a role in the diagnostic algorithm. reliable and sensitive assays for NfL; and you can detect elevated levels of NfL in the blood, but right now, the NfL tests are research-use only. Reached for comment, Howard Fillit, MD, founding executive director and chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.