Study IDs Reference Levels for Serum Neurofilament Light Chain in Youth

Age-adjusted sNfL z scores are higher in children with neurological conditions versus healthy children
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Measures of serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) clinically differentiate children with neurological conditions versus healthy children, according to a study published online July 28 in The Lancet Neurology.

Ahmed Abdelhak, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues aimed to establish an age-adjusted sNfL reference range database in a population of 2,667 healthy children and adolescents (aged 0 to 22 years) and to validate the clinical applicability of this database in 220 pediatric patients (aged 1 to 19 years) with neurological conditions (epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, bacterial central nervous system infections, pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis, and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease).

The researchers found that in the healthy population, sNfL concentrations decreased with age by an estimated 6.8 percent per year until age 10.3 years (estimated multiplicative effect per 1-year increase, 0.93; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 0.94; P < 0·0001) and was mostly stable thereafter up to age 22 years (1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 1.94; P > 0.99). The magnitude of the effect of weight on sNfL concentrations was marginal and was independent of age. Among children with neurological conditions, age-adjusted sNfL z scores were higher versus healthy children and adolescents.

"Compared with absolute sNfL values, the use of sNfL z score was associated with higher effect size metrics and allowed for more accurate estimation of the extent of ongoing neuroaxonal damage in individual patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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