Serial measurements of phosphorylated neurofilament-heavy in the serum of subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

J Neurol Sci. 2015;353(1-2):122-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.04.032. Epub 2015 Apr 29.


There is a need for a blood biomarker of disease activity in ALS. This marker needs to measure the loss of motor neurones. Phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) in the serum is a biomarker of axonal injury. Previous studies have found that levels of pNfH are elevated in ALS. We have performed a serial study of pNfH levels in 98 subjects from our ALS clinic. There was significant elevation of levels of pNfH in subjects with ALS compared to controls, although there was considerable variability. In studies of individuals who had two or more serial samples, we found that the levels of pNfH increased over time in the early stage of disease. Levels were low in subjects with long survival. The rate of rise of pNfH was inversely correlated with survival. We suggest that the initial level of pNfH is a marker of disease severity and that changes in pNfH levels are markers of disease progression.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Biomarkers; Motor neurone disease; Neurofilament; Prognosis; Survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / blood*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / mortality
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofilament Proteins / blood*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Young Adult


  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • neurofilament protein H