Background: Increased levels of antibodies to neurofilament light protein (NF-L) in biological fluids have been found to reflect neuroinflammatory responses and neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Objective: To evaluate whether levels of serum antibodies against NF-L correlate with clinical variants and treatment response in MS.
Methods: The autoantibody reactivity to NF-L protein was tested in serum samples from patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) (n=22) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS) (n=26). Two other cohorts of RRMS patients under treatment with natalizumab were analysed cross-sectionally (n=16) and longitudinally (n=24). The follow-up samples were taken at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after treatment, and the NF-L antibody levels were compared against baseline levels.
Results: NF-L antibodies were higher in MS clinical groups than healthy controls and in RRMS compared to SPMS patients (p<0.001). NF-L antibody levels were lower in natalizumab treated than in untreated patients (p<0.001). In the longitudinal series, NF-L antibody levels decreased over time and a significant difference was found following 24 months of treatment compared with baseline measurements (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Drug efficacy in MS treatment indicates the potential use of monitoring the content of antibodies against the NF-L chain as a predictive biomarker of treatment response in MS.
Keywords: Neurofilament light chain; antibodies; multiple sclerosis; natalizumab treatment; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation.
© The Author(s) 2014.