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Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma neurofilament light relate to abnormal cognition.

Journal article
Authors Katie E Osborn
Omair A Khan
Hailey A Kresge
Corey W Bown
Dandan Liu
Elizabeth E Moore
Katherine A Gifford
Lealani Mae Y Acosta
Susan P Bell
Timothy J Hohman
Kaj Blennow
Henrik Zetterberg
Angela L Jefferson
Published in Alzheimer's & dementia
Volume 11
Issue C
Pages 700-709
ISSN 2352-8729
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 700-709
Language en
Subject categories Neurochemistry


Neuroaxonal damage may contribute to cognitive changes preceding clinical dementia. Accessible biomarkers are critical for detecting such damage.Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neurofilament light (NFL) were related to neuropsychological performance among Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants (plasma n = 333, 73 ± 7 years; CSF n = 149, 72 ± 6 years) ranging from normal cognition (NC) to mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Models adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, apolipoprotein E ε4 carriership, and Framingham Stroke Risk Profile.Plasma NFL was related to all domains (P values ≤ .008) except processing speed (P values ≥ .09). CSF NFL was related to memory and language (P values ≤ .04). Interactions with cognitive diagnosis revealed widespread plasma associations, particularly in MCI participants, which were further supported in head-to-head comparison models.Plasma and CSF NFL (reflecting neuroaxonal injury) relate to cognition among non-demented older adults albeit with small to medium effects. Plasma NFL shows particular promise as an accessible biomarker with relevance to cognition in MCI.

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