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Stage-specific links between plasma neurofilament light and imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease

Benedet, AL; Leuzy, A; Pascoal, TA; Ashton, NJ; Mathotaarachchi, S; Savard, M; Therriault, J; ... Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, .; + view all (2020) Stage-specific links between plasma neurofilament light and imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. Brain 10.1093/brain/awaa342. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Neurofilament light (NfL) is a marker of neuroaxonal injury, a prominent feature of Alzheimer's disease. It remains uncertain, however, how it relates to amyloid and tau pathology or neurodegeneration across the Alzheimer's disease continuum. The aim of this study was to investigate how plasma NfL relates to amyloid and tau PET and MRI measures of brain atrophy in participants with and without cognitive impairment. We retrospectively examined the association between plasma NfL and MRI measures of grey/white matter volumes in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative [ADNI: n = 1149; 382 cognitively unimpaired control subjects and 767 cognitively impaired participants (mild cognitive impairment n = 420, Alzheimer's disease dementia n = 347)]. Longitudinal plasma NfL was measured using single molecule array (Simoa) technology. Cross-sectional associations between plasma NfL and PET amyloid and tau measures were independently assessed in two cohorts: ADNI [n = 198; 110 cognitively unimpaired, 88 cognitively impaired (MCI n = 67, Alzheimer's disease dementia n = 21), data accessed October 2018]; and Translational Biomarkers in Aging and Dementia [TRIAD, n = 116; 74 cognitively unimpaired, 42 cognitively impaired (MCI n = 16, Alzheimer's disease dementia n = 26), data obtained November 2017 to January 2019]. Associations between plasma NfL and imaging-derived measures were examined voxel-wise using linear regression (cross-sectional) and linear mixed effect models (longitudinal). Cross-sectional analyses in both cohorts showed that plasma NfL was associated with PET findings in brain regions typically affected by Alzheimer's disease; associations were specific to amyloid PET in cognitively unimpaired and tau PET in cognitively impaired (P < 0.05). Longitudinal analyses showed that NfL levels were associated with grey/white matter volume loss; grey matter atrophy in cognitively unimpaired was specific to APOE ε4 carriers (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that plasma NfL increases in response to amyloid-related neuronal injury in preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease, but is related to tau-mediated neurodegeneration in symptomatic patients. As such, plasma NfL may a useful measure to monitor effects in disease-modifying drug trials.

Type: Article
Title: Stage-specific links between plasma neurofilament light and imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awaa342
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa342
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, MRI, amyloid, neurofilament light, tau
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117073
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