Blood Neurofilament Light Chain in Genetic Ataxia: A Meta-Analysis

Linliu Peng, Shang Wang, Zhao Chen, Yun Peng, Chunrong Wang, Zhe Long, Huirong Peng, Yuting Shi, Xuan Hou, Lijing Lei, Linlin Wan, Mingjie Liu, Guangdong Zou, Lu Shen, Kun Xia, Rong Qiu, Beisha Tang, Tetsuo Ashizawa, Thomas Klockgether, Hong Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: No comprehensive meta-analysis has ever been performed to assess the value of neurofilament light chain (NfL) as a biomarker in genetic ataxia.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize NfL concentration and evaluate its utility as a biomarker in genetic ataxia.

METHODS: Studies were included if they reported NfL concentration of genetic ataxia. We used log (mean ± SD) NfL to describe mean raw value of NfL. The effect size of NfL between genetic ataxia and healthy controls (HC) was expressed by mean difference. Correlation between NfL and disease severity was calculated.

RESULTS: We identified 11 studies of 624 HC and 1006 patients, here referred to as spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA1, 2, 3, 6, and 7), Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), and ataxia telangiectasia (A-T). The concentration of blood NfL (bNfL) elevated with proximity to expected onset, and progressively increased from asymptomatic to preclinical to clinical stage in SCA3. Compared with HC, bNfL levels were significantly higher in SCA1, 2, 3, and 7, FRDA, as well as A-T, and the difference increased with the advancing disease in SCA3. bNfL levels correlated with disease severity in SCA3. There was a significant correlation between bNfL and longitudinal progression in SCA3. Additionally, bNfL increased with age in HC, yet this is probably masked by higher disease-related effects on bNfL in genetic ataxia.

CONCLUSIONS: bNfL can be used as a potential biomarker to predict disease onset, severity, and progression of genetic ataxia. Reference-value setting of bNfL should be divided according to age. © 2021 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Biomarkers
  • Cerebellar Ataxia
  • Friedreich Ataxia
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filaments
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Blood Neurofilament Light Chain in Genetic Ataxia: A Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this