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A Serum Protein Biomarker Panel Improves Outcome Prediction in Human Traumatic Brain Injury

Journal article
Authors E. Thelin
F. Al Nimer
A. Frostell
Henrik Zetterberg
Kaj Blennow
H. Nystrom
M. Svensson
B. M. Bellander
F. Piehl
D. W. Nelson
Published in Journal of Neurotrauma
ISSN 0897-7151
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Language en
Keywords functional outcome, injury severity assessment, neuroradiology, protein biomarkers, serum analysis, fibrillary acidic protein, c-terminal hydrolase-l1, neuron-specific, enolase, neurofilament light protein, s-100b protein, prognostic, analysis, plasma-levels, tau proteins, s100b, blood, General & Internal Medicine, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences


Brain-enriched protein biomarkers of tissue fate are being introduced clinically to aid in traumatic brain injury (TBI) management. The aim of this study was to determine how concentrations of six different protein biomarkers, measured in samples collected during the first weeks after TBI, relate to injury severity and outcome. We included neurocritical care TBI patients that were prospectively enrolled from 2007 to 2013, all having one to three blood samples drawn during the first 2 weeks. The biomarkers analyzed were S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100B), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), tau, and neurofilament-light (NF-L). Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) was assessed at 12 months. In total, 172 patients were included. All serum markers were associated with injury severity as classified on computed tomography scans at admission. Almost all biomarkers outperformed other known outcome predictors with higher levels the first 5 days, correlating with unfavorable outcomes, and UCH-L1 (0.260, pseduo-R-2) displaying the best discrimination in univariate analyses. After adjusting for acknowledged TBI outcome predictors, GFAP and NF-L added most independent information to predict favorable/unfavorable GOS, improving the model from 0.38 to 0.51 pseudo-R-2. A correlation matrix indicated substantial covariance, with the strongest correlation between UCH-L1, GFAP, and tau (r = 0.827-0.880). Additionally, the principal component analysis exhibited clustering of UCH-L1 and tau, as well as GFAP, S100B, and NSE, which was separate from NF-L. In summary, a panel of several different protein biomarkers, all associated with injury severity, with different cellular origin and temporal trajectories, improve outcome prediction models.

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