Potential diagnostic and prognostic value of serum and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in traumatic spinal cord injury: A systematic review

J Neurochem. 2019 May;149(3):317-330. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14637. Epub 2019 Jan 15.


It remains unclear whether biomarkers in the serum or CSF can be used for diagnosis or prognosis of spinal cord injuries (SCI). Therefore, a systematic review was undertaken to evaluate the prognostic or diagnostic value of serum and CSF biomarkers in assessing the severity of SCI and the outcome of patients. Two independent reviewers summarized the human studies retrieved from the electronic databases of Medline, Embase, Scopus and ISI Web of Science until April 2018. Seventeen studies were included (1065 patients aged 16-94 years old). Although the findings of the included studies suggest that inflammatory and structural proteins may be useful in assessing the severity of SCI and prediction of neurological outcome, the level of evidence is generally low. Given limitations to the available evidence, further investigation in this field is required using large prospective data sets with rigorous analysis of sensitivity, specificity and prediction.

Keywords: biomarkers; prognostics value; spinal cord injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / blood*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Biomarkers