Disease biomarkers in multiple sclerosis: current serum neurofilament light chain perspectives

Neurodegener Dis Manag. 2021 Aug;11(4):329-340. doi: 10.2217/nmt-2020-0058. Epub 2021 Jul 1.


The continuous neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative pathology in multiple sclerosis (MS) results in irreversible accumulation of physical and cognitive disability. Reliable early detection of MS disease processes can aid in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment management of MS patients. Recent assay technological advancements now allow reliable quantification of serum-based neurofilament light chain (sNfL) levels, which provide temporal information regarding the degree of neuroaxonal damage. The relationship and predictive value of sNfL with clinical and cognitive outcomes, other paraclinical measures and treatment response is reviewed. sNfL measurement is an emerging, noninvasive and disease-responsive MS biomarker that is currently utilized in research and clinical trial settings. Understanding sNfL confounders and further assay standardization will allow clinical implementation of this biomarker.

Keywords: MRI; clinical trials; disability outcomes; multiple sclerosis; serum neurofilament light chain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filaments*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood*


  • Biomarkers