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Autoimmunity. 2012 Jun;45(4):298-303. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2012.654865. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Neurofilament a biomarker of neurodegeneration in autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Neuroimmunology, Institute of Neurology, London, UK.


Monitoring neuroaxonal loss in multiple sclerosis is an important objective to study the pathogenesis and response to treatment of the disease. The release of neurofilaments is a potential surrogate biomarker of neurodegeneration. One route to explore this aspect further is through the use of animal models that have well-defined, and predictable, disease courses. The release of neurofilaments into plasma across the course of relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Biozzi ABH was assessed, as well as measuring anti-neurofilament antibodies using ELISA. It was found that there was an immediate release in neurofilaments into the blood following the initial paralytic attack. Neurofilament release was continuous in relapse and remission but returned towards baseline in chronic disease, as animals entered the post-relapsing progressive phase of the disease. This was mirrored by a loss of neurofilament-specific antibodies. In contrast neurofilament levels increased dramatically as neurodegeneration and clinical disease occurred in the G93A SOD1 transgenic C57BL/6 x SJL mice, model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. These data further support neurofilament levels as a good surrogate measure of neurodegeneration and their potential use as a surrogate endpoint in neuroprotective studies.

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