Serum Neurofilament light correlates with CADASIL disease severity and survival

Gido Gravesteijn, Julie W. Rutten, Inge M. W. Verberk, Stefan Böhringer, Michael K. Liem, Jeroen van der Grond, Annemieke Aartsma-Rus, Charlotte E. Teunissen, Saskia A. J. Lesnik Oberstein

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Objective: To validate whether serum Neurofilament Light-chain (NfL) levels correlate with disease severity in CADASIL, and to determine whether serum NfL predicts disease progression and survival. Methods: Fourty-one (pre-) manifest individuals with CADASIL causing NOTCH3 mutations and 22 healthy controls were recruited from CADASIL families. At baseline, MRI-lesion load and clinical severity was determined and serum was stored. Disease progression was measured in 30/41 patients at 7-year follow-up, and survival of all individuals was determined at 17-year follow-up. Serum NfL levels were quantified using an ultra-sensitive molecule array. Generalized estimated equation regression (GEE) was used to analyze association between serum NfL, MRI-lesion load, disease severity, and disease progression. With GEE-based Cox regression, survival was analyzed. Results: At baseline, serum NfL levels correlated with MRI-lesion load [lacune count (s = 0.64, P = 0.002), brain atrophy (r = −0.50, P = 0.001), and microbleed count (s = 0.48, P = 0.044)], cognition [CAMCOG (s = −0.45, P = 0.010), MMSE (r = −0.61, P = 0.003), GIT (r = −0.61, P < 0.001), TMT-A (r = 0.70, P < 0.001)) and disability (mRS (r = 0.70, P = 0.002)]. Baseline serum NfL predicted 7-year changes in disability (B = 0.34, P < 0.001) and cognition (CAMCOG B = −4.94, P = 0.032), as well as 17-year survival. Higher NfL levels were associated with increased mortality (HR=1.8 per twofold increase in NfL levels, P = 0.006). Interpretation: Serum NfL levels correlate with disease severity, disease progression and 17-year survival in CADASIL patients. Serum NfL is a promising biomarker to monitor and predict disease course in CADASIL, as well as potentially assessing therapeutic response in future clinical trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number1
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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