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Neurology. 2006 Apr 25;66(8):1218-22. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

Identification of potential CSF biomarkers in ALS.

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  • 1Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bronx, NY, USA.



The clinical diagnosis of ALS is based entirely on clinical features. Identification of biomarkers for ALS would be important for diagnosis and might also provide clues to pathogenesis.


To determine if there is a specific protein profile in the CSF that distinguishes patients with ALS from those with purely motor peripheral neuropathy (PN) and healthy control subjects.


CSF obtained from patients with ALS, disease controls (patients with other neurologic disorders), and normal controls were analyzed using the surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry proteomics technique. Biomarker sensitivity and specificity was calculated with receiver operating characteristic curve methodology. ALS biomarkers were purified and sequence identified by mass spectrometry-directed peptide sequencing.


In initial proteomic discovery studies, three protein species (4.8-, 6.7-, and 13.4-kDa) that were significantly lower in concentration in the CSF from patients with ALS (n = 36) than in normal controls (n = 21) were identified. A combination of three protein species (the "three-protein" model) correctly identified patients with ALS with 95% accuracy, 91% sensitivity, and 97% specificity from the controls. Independent validation studies using separate cohorts of ALS (n = 13), healthy control (n = 25), and PN (n = 7) subjects confirmed the ability of the three CSF protein species to separate patients with ALS from other diseases. Protein sequence analysis identified the 13.4-kDa protein species as cystatin C and the 4.8-kDa protein species as a peptic fragment of the neurosecretory protein VGF.


Additional application of a "three-protein" biomarker model to current diagnostic criteria may provide an objective biomarker pattern to help identify patients with ALS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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