Background: The role of cholesterol homeostasis in neuroaxonal injury in multiple sclerosis is not known.
Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the associations of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum neurofilament light chain levels (CSF-NfL and sNfL, respectively), which are biomarkers of neuroaxonal injury, with cholesterol biomarkers at the clinical onset of multiple sclerosis.
Methods: sNfL, serum cholesterol profile (total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), serum apolipoprotein (Apo) levels (ApoA-I, ApoA-II, ApoB, and ApoE), and albumin quotient were obtained for 133 patients (63% female, age: 29.9 ± 8.0 years) during the first demyelinating event. CSF-NfL was available for 103 (77%) patients.
Results: CSF-NfL and sNfL were negatively associated with serum ApoA-II (P = .005, P < .001) and positively associated with albumin quotient (P < .001, P < .0001). In addition, higher CSF-NfL was associated with lower serum ApoA-I (P = .009) levels and higher sNfL was associated with lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = .010). In stepwise regression, age (P = .045), serum ApoA-II (P = .022), and albumin quotient (P < .001) were associated with CSF-NfL; albumin quotient (P = .002) and ApoA-II (P = .001) were associated with sNfL. Path analysis identified parallel pathways from ApoA-II (P = .009) and albumin quotient (P < .001) to the sNfL outcome that were mediated by CSF-NfL (P < .001). The associations of CSF-NfL with ApoA-I (P = .014) and ApoA-II (P = .015) and sNfL with ApoA-II (P < .001) remained significant after adjusting for number of contrast-enhancing lesions and T2 lesion volume.
Conclusion: Lower serum ApoA-II and ApoA-I levels are associated with greater neuroaxonal injury as measured by CSF-NfL.
Keywords: Apolipoproteins; Blood-brain barrier; Brain lesions; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cholesterol; Disease onset; Lipid; MRI; Multiple sclerosis; Neurofilament light chain.
Copyright © 2020 National Lipid Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.