Serum phosphorylated neurofilament-heavy chain levels in multiple sclerosis patients

Melissa M Gresle, Y Liu, Laura F Dagley, Jodi Haartsen, Felicity Pearson, Anthony W Purcell, Louise Laverick, Axel Petzold, Robyn M Lucas, Anneke van der Walt, Hayden Prime, Kelli-Jane L Lazarus, Bruce V Taylor, D R Morris, Gerry P J Shaw, Helmut Butzkueven

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Objectives: We evaluated whether the measurement of serum phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNF-H) titre is likely to be a valid biomarker of axonal injury in multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: Serum pNF-H concentrations were measured by ELISA in cases with relapsing-remitting (RR)-MS (n=81), secondary progressive (SP) MS (n=13) and primary progressive (PP)-MS; n=6) MS; first demyelinating event (FDE; n=82); and unaffected controls (n=135). A subset of MS cases (n=45) were resampled on one or multiple occasions. The Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) and MRI measures were used to evaluate associations between serum pNF-H status, disease severity and cerebral lesion load and activity. Results: We confirmed the presence of pNF-H peptides in serum by ELISA. We showed that a high serum pNF-H titre was detectable in 9% of RR-MS and FDE cases, and 38.5% of SP-MS cases. Patients with a high serum pNF-H titre had higher average MSSS scores and T2 lesion volumes than patients with a low serum pNF-H titre. Repeated sampling of a subset of MS cases showed that pNF-H levels can fluctuate over time, likely reflecting temporal dynamics of axonal injury in MS. Conclusions: A subset of FDE/MS cases was found to have a high serum pNF-H titre, and this was associated with changes in clinical outcome measures. We propose that routine measurement of serum pNF-H should be further investigated for monitoring axonal injury in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1213
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

Cite this

Gresle, M. M., Liu, Y., Dagley, L. F., Haartsen, J., Pearson, F., Purcell, A. W., Laverick, L., Petzold, A., Lucas, R. M., van der Walt, A., Prime, H., Lazarus, K-J. L., Taylor, B. V., Morris, D. R., Shaw, G. P. J., & Butzkueven, H. (2014). Serum phosphorylated neurofilament-heavy chain levels in multiple sclerosis patients. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 85(11), 1209-1213.