University of Oulu

Katisko, K., Cajanus, A., Jääskeläinen, O. et al. Serum neurofilament light chain is a discriminative biomarker between frontotemporal lobar degeneration and primary psychiatric disorders. J Neurol 267, 162–167 (2020).

Serum neurofilament light chain is a discriminative biomarker between frontotemporal lobar degeneration and primary psychiatric disorders

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Author: Katisko, Kasper1; Cajanus, Antti1; Jääskeläinen, Olli1;
Organizations: 1Institute of Clinical Medicine–Neurology, University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistonranta 1C, 1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland
2Neuro Center, Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
3Neuro Center, Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
4A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
5Institute of Clinical Medicine–Psychiatry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6Department of Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
7MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
8Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, Neurology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-04-14


Due to the significant clinical overlap between frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) spectrum disorders and late-onset primary psychiatric disorders (PPD), diagnostic biomarkers reflecting the different underlying pathophysiologies are urgently needed. Thus far, elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of neurofilament light chain (NfL) have been reported in various neurological conditions. Furthermore, recent advancements in ultrasensitive analytical methods (e.g., single molecule array, Simoa) have enabled sensitive and less invasive NfL detection also from blood samples. In this study, we evaluated the potential of serum NfL (sNfL) as a diagnostic tool between FTLD and PPD. We analyzed sNfL levels with Simoa from 125 participants including patients from FTLD (n = 91) and PPD (n = 34) spectra. Our results show that sNfL levels are higher in the FTLD group compared to the PPD group as well as in separate clinical subtypes of FTLD compared to different psychiatric manifestations (i.e., mood or psychotic disorders). At single-subject level, discrimination between FTLD and PPD was possible with 80% sensitivity and 85% specificity (AUC = 0.850, 95% CI 0.776–0.923), and between behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and PPD with 79% sensitivity and 85% specificity (AUC = 0.830, 95% CI 0.732–0.908). These findings highlight the potential of sNfL as a discriminating biomarker for FTLD over PPD in patients with wide-ranging behavioral, psychiatric and cognitive symptoms.

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Series: Journal of neurology
ISSN: 0340-5354
ISSN-E: 1432-1459
ISSN-L: 0340-5354
Volume: 267
Pages: 162 - 167
DOI: 10.1007/s00415-019-09567-8
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3112 Neurosciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Eastern Finland (UEF) including Kuopio University Hospital. This study was supported by Academy of Finland (Grant Nos. 315459 (Haapasalo), 315460 (Remes)), Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (Haapasalo, Grant No. 20187070). VTR Grant 5772816 of Kuopio University Hospital (Remes), Finnish Medical Foundation (Katisko), Finnish Brain Foundation (Katisko), Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation (Katisko), Maud Kuistila Foundation (Katisko), Finnish Cultural Foundation (Katisko, Cajanus), Olvi Foundation (Cajanus).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 315460
Detailed Information: 315460 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.