Article| Volume 25, ISSUE 3, 100349, March 2023

Neurofilament light chain in cerebrospinal fluid as a novel biomarker in evaluating both clinical severity and therapeutic response in Niemann-Pick disease type C1

Published:December 02, 2022DOI:



      Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1) is a neurodegenerative lysosomal disorder caused by pathogenic variants in NPC1. Disease progression is monitored using the NPC Neurological Severity Scale, but there are currently no established validated or qualified biomarkers. Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is being investigated as a biomarker in multiple neurodegenerative diseases.


      Cross-sectional and longitudinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were obtained from 116 individuals with NPC1. NfL levels were measured using a solid-phase sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and compared with age-appropriate non-NPC1 comparison samples.


      Median levels of NfL were elevated at baseline (1152 [680-1840] pg/mL) in NPC1 compared with controls (167 [82-372] pg/mL; P < .001). Elevated NfL levels were associated with more severe disease as assessed by both the 17-domain and 5-domain NPC Neurological Severity Score. Associations were also observed with ambulation, fine motor, speech, and swallowing scores. Although treatment with the investigational drug 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (adrabetadex) did not decrease CSF NfL levels, miglustat therapy over time was associated with a decrease (odds ratio = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.62-0.96).


      CSF NfL levels are increased in individuals with NPC1, associated with clinical disease severity, and decreased with miglustat therapy. These data suggest that NfL is a biomarker that may have utility in future therapeutic trials.


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