Neuronal and glial CSF biomarkers in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sara Momtazmanesh, Parnian Shobeiri, Amene Saghazadeh, Charlotte E. Teunissen, Joachim Burman, Levente Szalardy, Peter Klivenyi, Ales Bartos, Adelaide Fernandes, Nima Rezaei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with inflammatory demyelination and astroglial activation, with neuronal and axonal damage as the leading factors of disability. We aimed to perform a meta-analysis to determine changes in CSF levels of neuronal and glial biomarkers, including neurofilament light chain (NFL), total tau (t-tau), chitinase-3-like protein 1 (CHI3L1), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and S100B in various groups of MS (MS versus controls, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) versus controls, CIS versus MS, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) versus progressive MS (PMS), and MS in relapse versus remission. According to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, we included 64 articles in the meta-analysis, including 4071 subjects. For investigation of sources of heterogeneity, subgroup analysis, meta-regression, and sensitivity analysis were conducted. Meta-analyses were performed for comparisons including at least three individual datasets. NFL, GFAP, t-tau, CHI3L1, and S100B were higher in MS and NFL, t-tau, and CHI3L1 were also elevated in CIS patients than controls. CHI3L1 was the only marker with higher levels in MS than CIS. GFAP levels were higher in PMS versus RRMS, and NFL, t-tau, and CHI3L1 did not differ between different subtypes. Only levels of NFL were higher in patients in relapse than remission. Meta-regression showed influence of sex and disease severity on NFL and t-tau levels, respectively and disease duration on both. Added to the role of these biomarkers in determining prognosis and treatment response, to conclude, they may serve in diagnosis of MS and distinguishing different subtypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-595
Number of pages23
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number6
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

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