New Evidence Suggests Potential for Blood-Based Alzheimer’s Biomarker

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 | Dementia & Cognitive Disorders , Research and Publications


Plasma neurofilament light (NFL) may represent a blood-based, non-invasive biomarker in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to new findings published in the JAMA Neurology (March 27, 2017). In a prospective case-control study, investigators used an ultrasensitive assay to measure plasma NFL concentration in 193 cognitively healthy controls, 197 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 180 patients with AD dementia from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. In particular, they tested associations between plasma NFL and diagnosis, Aβ pathologic features, CSF biomarkers of neuronal injury, cognition, brain structure, and metabolism.

Plasma NFL correlated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) NFL and was also increased in patients with mild cognitive impairment and those with AD dementia as compared to controls. Of note, plasma NFL was particularly high in patients with MCI and patients with AD dementia with Aβ pathologic features. Also, high plasma NFL correlated with poor cognition and AD-related atrophy (at baseline and longitudinally) and with brain hypometabolism (longitudinally).

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