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Neurofilament Light in Cerebrospinal Fluid is Associated With Disease Staging in European Lyme Neuroborreliosis

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Background: Drivers of differences in disease presentation and symptom duration in Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) are currently unknown.

Objectives: We hypothesized that neurofilament light (NfL) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) would predict disease location and sequelae in a historic LNB cohort.

Design: Using a cross-sectional design and archived CSF samples from 185 patients diagnosed with LNB, we evaluated the content of NfL in the total cohort and in a subgroup of 84 patients with available clinical and paraclinical information.

Methods: Individuals were categorized according to disease location: a. Central nervous system (CNS) with stroke (N=3), b. CNS without stroke (N=11), c. Peripheral nervous system (PNS) with cranial nerve palsy (CNP) (N=40) d. PNS without CNP (N=30). Patients with hospital follow-up more than 6 months after completed antibiotic therapy were categorized as having LNB associated sequelae (N=15).

Results: At diagnosis concentration of NfL exceeded the upper reference level in 60% (105/185), especially among individuals above 30 years. Age-adjusted NfL was not found to be associated with symptom duration. Age-adjusted NfL was significantly higher among individuals with CNS involvement. Category a. (stroke) had significantly higher NfL concentrations in CSF compared to all other categories, category b. (CNS involvement without stroke) had significantly higher values compared to the categories of PNS involvement. We found no significant difference between the categories with PNS involvement (with or without CNP). Significantly higher NfL was found among patients with follow-up in hospital setting.

Conclusion: Comparison of NfL concentrations between the 4 groups of LNB disease manifestations based on clinical information revealed a hierarchy of neuron damage according to disease location and suggested evolving mechanisms with accelerated injury especially when disease is complicated by stroke. Higher values of NfL among patients with need of follow-up in hospital setting suggest NfL could be useful to identify rehabilitative needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Central Nervous System Disease
Pages (from-to)11795735221098126
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022.

ID: 79407777