Variations in consecutive serum neurofilament light levels in healthy controls and multiple sclerosis patients

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Background Neurofilament light is a neuronal protein detectable in serum (sNfL), with high potential as disease activity biomarker in multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, little is known about sNfL fluctuations between 2 consecutive measurements in healthy controls (HC) and MS patients. Yet this information is critical, as it will help define a clinically significant variation. Methods sNfL was measured at 2 consecutive time points in a cohort of 90 MS patients (untreated relapsing remitting MS (uRRMS), n=35; treated relapsing remitting MS (tRRMS), n= 21; secondary progressive MS, SPMS, n=21; primary progressive MS, PPMS, n=13), and 90 age-matched HC, using the Simoa NfL light® assay. Results Mean sNfL was elevated in all MS subtypes compared to HC (p<0.0001), and positively associated with age in HC (r=0.70, p<0.001), confirming previous reports. Mean sNfL was higher at follow-up compared to baseline in HC (p<0.001), and lower in uRRMS(p=0.036) and tRRMS (p=0.008). At follow-up, a similar proportion of HC (50.0%), untreated RRMS (51.4%), treated RRMS (33.3%), SPMS (45.0%) and PPMS (46.2%) had variations in sNfL levels exceeding 20% of baseline levels. Conclusions Our data suggest variations in sNfL occur both in HC and MS populations to a similar extent and magnitude. Variations between two consecutive sNfL measurements may reflect natural variations and not necessarily variations in inflammatory disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102666
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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