Objective: To prospectively determine the intensity of systemic low-grade inflammation in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Patients and methods: Patients with ALS and matched healthy controls underwent blood tests for inflammation-sensitive biomarkers: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), quantitative fibrinogen, wide-range C-reactive protein (wrCRP) concentrations, leukocyte count and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR). The correlation between these inflammatory biomarkers and disability status of the patients, expressed by the ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R), was evaluated.
Results: Eighty patients with ALS and 80 matched controls were included. wrCRP, fibrinogen, ESR and NLR values were significantly elevated in patients compared with controls. There was a significant correlation between the ALSFRS-R score and wrCRP, ESR and fibrinogen levels. This correlation persisted on sequential examinations.
Conclusions: A systemic low-grade inflammation was detected in patients with ALS and correlated with their degree of disability. A heightened systemic inflammatory state is apparently associated with a negative prognosis in ALS.