Neurofilament light protein (NfL), a component of the axonal cytoskeleton, has been shown to be increased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood and to respond to successful treatment in several neurological diseases. We set out to investigate NfL as a potential biomarker for Huntington’s disease (HD).Methods
We studied NfL in plasma from 298 participants, in plasma and CSF in 37 participants, and in the R6/2 HD mouse model.Results
NfL concentration was increased in plasma at every stage of HD including premanifest mutation carriers, rose with progression and had a striking relationship with HTT CAG repeat length. In premanifest HD, baseline plasma NfL predicted subsequent motor onset even after adjustment for age and CAG repeat length. NfL predicted clinical, cognitive and neuroimaging progression, and CSF and plasma levels were strongly associated (Byrne et al, Lancet Neurology 2017). VBM analysis revealed that NfL level predicted atrophy throughout the white matter and in the occipital grey matter (Johnson et al, Neurology 2018). In the R6/2 mouse model, NfL was increased in plasma and CSF and associated with brain volume and clinical measures (Soylu Kucharz et al, Scientific Reports 2017).Conclusions
NfL is a promising clinical and translational biomarker for HD.