SAGE Journals

Neurofilament light chain level in plasma extracellular vesicles and Parkinson’s disease

Posted on 2020-12-08 - 13:07

Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is essential for axonal maintenance and reflects neuronal damage. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), especially exosomes, secreted by cells into the blood, are emerging as novel biomedical research platforms of physiological and pathological processes. The present study investigated the possible association between plasma EV NfL and Parkinson’s disease (PD).


One hundred and sixteen patients with mild to moderate PD and 46 non-PD, neurological controls were recruited, and their clinical motor symptoms and cognitive function were evaluated. Plasma EVs were isolated using an exoEasy kit, and immunomagnetic reduction assay was used to assess EV NfL level. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 25.0, and p < 0.05 was considered significant.


The isolated plasma EVs were validated according to size and the presence of specific surface markers. Compared with the neurological control group, the levels of plasma EV NfL in patients with PD were not significantly different (PD: 9.42 ± 3.89, control: 9.53 ± 3.62 pg/mL plasma, p = 0.71). On the other hand, plasma EV NfL in patients with PD trendwise correlated with the severity of akinetic rigidity (p = 0.05). PD patients with optimal EV NfL (lowest quartile) had 6.66 ± 2.08 lower Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale-III score after adjustment for age, sex, and disease duration.


Plasma EV NfL levels did not distinguish patients with PD from the neurological control group. The possible correlation between plasma EV NfL with the severity of motor symptoms within the PD patients, especially with akinetic rigidity, was noted. Further clinical validation of the blood EV NfL by a longitudinal follow-up study of PD patients is warranted.


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