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Serum NfL associated with clinical disability and brain atrophy

AAN 2021
In a large and heterogeneous, multicentre cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, elevated serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) was associated with clinical disability and brain atrophy, and with comorbidities including diabetes and smoking. These results may help advance the utilisation of serum NfL in clinical practice.

Serum NfL was measured in baseline samples from 6,968 MS patients and 201 healthy control participants in the MS PATHS cohort [1].

Serum NfL was elevated in 1,202 MS participants (17.2%). Factors associated with elevated NfL included:

  • progressive MS (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.38–1.92);
  • non-white race/ethnicity (OR 1.43; 95% CI 1.17–1.74);
  • diabetes mellitus (OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.42–2.49);
  • smoking (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.20–1.85);
  • younger age, and shorter symptoms duration.

An inverse relation was found between BMI and serum NfL: higher BMI was associated with lower odds of elevated sNfL (OR 0.83 per 5 kg/m2 increase; 95% CI 0.78–0.88). Similar results were reported recently [2]. MS participants with elevated NfL exhibited worse neurological function (walking speed, manual dexterity, and processing speed), lower brain parenchymal fraction, lower thalamic volume, and higher T2 lesion volume (P<0.001 for all).

  1. Sotirchos E, et al. Associations of Serum Neurofilament Light Chain with Clinico-Radiological Characteristics in the MSPATHS Network: A Cross-Sectional Evaluation. S25.001, AAN 2021 Virtual Congress, 17-22 April.
  2. Manouchehrinia A, et al. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2020;7(1):139-143.

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