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Neurosci Lett. 2007 May 7;417(3):231-3. Epub 2007 Feb 24.

Plasma neurofilament heavy chain levels in Huntington's disease.

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Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, Institute of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.


There is a need for biomarkers of onset and progression in Huntington's disease (HD), as current outcome measures lack the reliability to enable the efficient conduct of disease-modifying trials. Neurofilament heavy chain (NfH) is a neuron-specific protein for the neuro-axonal compartment that has been proposed as a marker for axonal injury, degeneration and loss and its clinical use as a biomarker has been suggested in several neurodegenerative diseases. We used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to quantify NfH levels in plasma in control subjects, premanifest HD mutation carriers and subjects with early and moderate manifest HD. We found no correlation between plasma NfH level and disease stage, or calculated parameters based on CAG repeat length, the major determinant of disease course in HD, and no evidence that NfH may be a predictor of disease onset. We conclude that plasma NfH concentration is not a useful biomarker of onset or progression in HD.

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