CSF neurofilaments in frontotemporal dementia compared with early onset Alzheimer's disease and controls

Yolande A.L. Pijnenburg, John C. Janssen, Niki S.M. Schoonenboom, Axel Petzold, Cees Mulder, Torgny Stigbrand, Niklas Norgren, Hans Heijst, C. Erik Hack, Philip Scheltens, Charlotte E. Teunissen

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Background: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is pathologically heterogeneous, sometimes revealing intraneuronal inclusions of neurofilaments. We therefore measured CSF neurofilament profiles in patients with FTD, patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease (EAD) and healthy control subjects to explore the discriminative potential of CSF neurofilaments compared with the existing CSF biomarkers amyloid-β(1-42), tau and tau phosphorylated at threonine-181. Methods: CSF levels of light chain, heavy chain and hyperphosphorylated heavy chain neurofilaments (NfL, t-NfH and P-NfH) were compared between 17 subjects with FTD, 20 with EAD and 25 cognitively healthy controls. Results: A subgroup of FTD patients had remarkably high CSF levels of both NfL and NfH. The degree of NfH phosphorylation was increased in FTD compared to both other groups. The levels of CSF NfL were significantly higher in EAD compared to controls. Conclusion: Differences in CSF biomarker profiles might reflect differential involvement of neurofilaments and tau in FTD and EAD. The subgroup of FTD patients with high CSF neurofilament levels may have a different neuropathological substrate and future studies addressing this specific issue are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalDementia and geriatric cognitive disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • CSF
  • Early onset dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Neurofilaments

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