Neurofilament light chain as a biomarker for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

Main Article Content

Ebrahim Kouchaki
Fatemeh Dashti
Sayad Mohamad Ali Mirazimi
Zahra Alirezaei
Seyed Hamed Jafari
Michael R. Hamblin
Hamed Mirzaei


The treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) have improved over the past 25 years, but now the main question for physicians is deciding who should receive treatment, for how long, and when to switch to other options. These decisions are typically based on treatment tolerance and a reasonable expectation of long-term efficacy. A significant unmet need is the lack of accurate laboratory measurements for diagnosis, and monitoring of treatment response, including deterioration and disease progression. There are few validated biomarkers for MS, and in practice, physicians employ two biomarkers discovered fifty years ago for MS diagnosis, often in combination with MRI scans. These biomarkers are intrathecal IgG and oligoclonal bands in the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is a relatively new biomarker for MS diagnosis and follow up. Neurofilaments are neuron-specific cytoskeleton proteins that can be measured in various body compartments. NfL is a new biomarker for MS that can be measured in serum samples, but this still needs further study to specify the laboratory cut-off values in clinical practice. In the present review we discuss the evidence for NfL as a reliable biomarker for the early detection and management of MS. Moreover, we highlight the correlation between MRI and NfL, and ask whether they can be combined.

Article Details

How to Cite
Kouchaki, E. ., Dashti, F. ., Mirazimi, S. M. A. ., Alirezaei, Z. ., Jafari, S. H. ., Hamblin, M. R., & Mirzaei, H. (2021). Neurofilament light chain as a biomarker for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis . EXCLI Journal, 20, 1308-1325.
Review articles