Liquid Biopsy in Neurological Diseases

Cells. 2023 Jul 22;12(14):1911. doi: 10.3390/cells12141911.


The most recent and non-invasive approach for studying early-stage biomarkers is liquid biopsy. This implies the extraction and analysis of non-solid biological tissues (serum, plasma, saliva, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid) without undergoing invasive procedures to determine disease prognosis. Liquid biopsy can be used for the screening of several components, such as extracellular vesicles, microRNAs, cell-free DNA, cell-free mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, circulating tumour cells, circulating tumour DNA, transfer RNA, and circular DNA or RNA derived from body fluids. Its application includes early disease diagnosis, the surveillance of disease activity, and treatment response monitoring, with growing evidence for validating this methodology in cancer, liver disease, and central nervous system (CNS) disorders. This review will provide an overview of mentioned liquid biopsy components, which could serve as valuable biomarkers for the evaluation of complex neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, CNS tumours, and neuroinfectious diseases. Furthermore, this review highlights the future directions and potential limitations associated with liquid biopsy.

Keywords: cfDNA; liquid biopsy; microRNA; neurological diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy / methods
  • MicroRNAs*


  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids
  • MicroRNAs
  • Biomarkers

Grants and funding

S.M. was supported by the grant from Instituto Salud Carlos III (PI20/01697).