High levels of neurofilament light chain (NfL) protein circulating in the blood of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) at an early stage of the disease are linked to higher disability and faster disease progression, a study has found.
According to researchers, these findings suggest that NfL — a protein commonly used as a marker of nerve cell degeneration in neurodegenerative disorders — could be a useful prognostic marker for MS, helping physicians select the best course of treatment for each patient.
Findings were reported in the study, “Serum neurofilament light chain predicts long term clinical outcomes in multiple sclerosis,” published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
MS is an autoimmune, neurodegenerative disorder for which both short- and long-term prognosis are difficult to ascertain. While some patients remain well for many years without treatment, others progress rapidly and fail to respond to therapies.
“In this context, accurate early prognostication is even more important … [because] if we can identify patients with more aggressive MS early on, we may be able to alter the trajectory of the disease, preventing or delaying the accrual of disability,” investigators wrote.
Currently there are no established biomarkers that physicians can use to assess the severity of MS, or to select the best course of treatment for each individual patient.
However, recent studies have suggested the levels of NfL — a protein normally released by nerve cells upon injury — in the patients’ blood serum are correlated with MS activity, indicating NfL possibly may be used “as a surrogate for disease severity, recent disease activity and treatment response,” the team wrote.
To investigate the value of NfL as a prognostic biomarker of MS, researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada reviewed the medical records of 67 patients who had their serum NfL levels measured at an early phase of the disease (near onset), and correlated these findings with their long-term clinical outcomes.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?