Diagnostic and Prognostic Role of Blood and Cerebrospinal Fluid and Blood Neurofilaments in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Review of the Literature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting upper and lower motor neurons (MNs) that still lacks an efficacious therapy. The failure of recent therapeutic trials in ALS, other than depending on the poor knowledge of pathogenic mechanisms responsible for MNs loss, is largely due to diagnostic delay and the lack of reliable biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and response to pharmacologic intervention. Neurofilaments (Nfs) are neuron-specific cytoskeletal proteins, whose levels increased in biological fluids proportionally to the degree of axonal damage, both in normal and in pathologic conditions, representing potential biomarkers in various neurological disorders, such as motor neuron disorder (MND). Growing evidence has shown that phosphorylated neurofilaments heavy chain (p-NfH) and neurofilaments light chain (NfL) are increased in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of ALS patients compared to healthy and neurological controls and are found to correlate with disease progression. In this review, we reported the most relevant studies investigating the diagnostic and prognostic role of Nfs in ALS. Given their reliability and reproducibility, we consider Nfs as promising and useful biomarkers in diagnosis of MND, early patient identification for inclusion in clinical trials, prediction of disease progression, and response to pharmacological intervention, and we suggest the validation of their measurement in clinical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE4152
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume20
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 25 2019

Keywords

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • biomarkers
  • blood
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • neurofilaments
  • NfL
  • p-NfH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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