N-acetylaspartic acid in cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis patients determined by gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry

Bas Jasperse*, Cornelis Jakobs, M. Judith Eikelenboom, Christine D. Dijkstra, Bernard M.J. Uitdehaag, Frederik Barkhof, Chris H. Polman, Charlotte E. Teunissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Axonal degeneration is considered to play a major role in the development of clinical disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). N-AcetylAspartic Acid (NAA) is a neuron-specific marker constantly identified in MR-spectroscopy studies of the normal and MS brain. To our knowledge there are no studies available that evaluated NAA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as a possible marker for disease severity. Objective: To evaluate CSF concentrations of NAA in MS in relation to disease phenotype, clinical measures of disability and MRI markers of disease burden. Methods: NAA concentrations were determined in CSF of 46 patients with MS (26 relapsing remitting (RRMS), 12 secondary progressive (SPMS) and 8 primary progressive (PPMS)). Prior to lumbar puncture, MS-patients underwent MRI and clinical examination, including the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the MS Functional Composite (MSFC). Additionally, CSF concentrations of NAA were determined in 12 patients with other neurological diseases (OND). Results: Median CSF NAA concentration was 0.74 (IQR: 0.59-0.94) in RRMS , 0.54 (IQR: 0.35-0.73) in SPMS and 0.83 μmol/l (IQR: 0.56-1.03) in PPMS patients. SPMS patients had a significantly lower NAA concentration than RRMS patients. NAA concentrations correlated with EDSS (r = )0.37, p = 0.016), MSFC (r = 0.41, p = 0.010), normalised brain volume (r = 0.49, p = 0.001), T2 lesion load (r = )0.35, p = 0.021) and black hole lesion load (r = )0.47, p = 0.002). No differences were observed between OND (median: 0.57 IQR: 0.28-0.73) and MS patients. Conclusions: CSF NAA concentration in MS patients is related to clinical performance and MRI measures of disease burden and may therefore be an important neuron specific marker of disease severity and possibly progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-637
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2007

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