Cerebrospinal fluid lactate is associated with multiple sclerosis disease progression

Maria Albanese, Sara Zagaglia, Doriana Landi, Laura Boffa, Carolina G. Nicoletti, Maria Grazia Marciani, Georgia Mandolesi, Girolama A. Marfia, Fabio Buttari, Francesco Mori, Diego Centonze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Altered cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of lactate have been described in neurodegenerative diseases and related to mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal degeneration. We investigated the relationship between CSF lactate levels, disease severity, and biomarkers associated with neuroaxonal damage in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: One-hundred eighteen subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were included, along with one-hundred fifty seven matched controls. CSF levels of lactate, tau protein, and neurofilament light were detected at the time of diagnosis. Patients were followed-up for a mean of 5years. Progression index (PI), multiple sclerosis severity scale (MSSS), and Bayesian risk estimate for multiple sclerosis (BREMS) were assessed as clinical measures of disease severity and progression. Differences between groups and correlation between CSF lactate, disease severity and CSF biomarkers of neuronal damage were explored. Results: CSF lactate was higher in RRMS patients compared to controls. A negative correlation was found between lactate levels and disease duration. Patients with higher CSF lactate concentration had significantly higher PI, MSSS, and BREMS scores at long-term follow-up. Furthermore, CSF lactate correlated positively and significantly with CSF levels of both tau protein and neurofilament light protein. Conclusions: Measurement of CSF lactate may be helpful, in conjunction with other biomarkers of tissue damage, as an early predictor of disease severity in RRMS patients. A better understanding of the alterations of mitochondrial metabolic pathways associated to RRMS severity may pave the way to new therapeutic targets to contrast axonal damage and disease severity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 10 2016


  • CSF
  • EDSS
  • Inflammation
  • Mitochondrial damage
  • MS
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurofilaments
  • Tau protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Immunology


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