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Biomarkers for CNS injury in CSF are elevated in COVID-19 and associated with neurological symptoms and disease severity

Virhammar, J; Nääs, A; Fällmar, D; Cunningham, JL; Klang, A; Ashton, NJ; Jackmann, S; ... Rostami, E; + view all (2020) Biomarkers for CNS injury in CSF are elevated in COVID-19 and associated with neurological symptoms and disease severity. European Journal of Neurology 10.1111/ene.14703. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Neurological symptoms have been frequently reported in hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and biomarkers of CNS injury are reported to be increased in plasma but not extensively studied in CSF. This study examines CSF for biomarkers of CNS injury and other pathology in relation to neurological symptoms and disease severity in patients with neurological manifestations of COVID-19. METHODS: Nineteen patients with neurological symptoms and mild to critical COVID-19 were prospectively included. Extensive analysis of CSF, including measurement of biomarkers of CNS injury (neurofilament light chain protein (NfL) glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAp) and total tau) was performed and related to neurological features and disease severity. RESULTS: Neurological symptoms included altered mental status (42%), headache (42%), central (21%) and peripheral weakness (32%). Two patients demonstrated minor pleocytosis and four patients had increased immunoglobulin G levels in CSF. Neuronal autoantibody testing using commercial tests was negative in all patients. Increased CSF levels of NfL, GFAp and total-tau protein were seen in 63%, 37%, and 16% of patients, respectively. Increased NfL correlated with disease severity, time in intensive care and level of consciousness. NfL in CSF was higher in patients with central neurological symptoms. CONCLUSION: Although limited by small sample size, our data suggest that levels of NfL, GFAp and total tau in CSF are commonly elevated in patients with COVID-19 with neurological symptoms. This is in contrast to the standard CSF work-up where pathological findings are scarce. NfL in particular, is associated with central neurological symptoms and disease severity.

Type: Article
Title: Biomarkers for CNS injury in CSF are elevated in COVID-19 and associated with neurological symptoms and disease severity
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ene.14703
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ene.14703
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/10119008
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