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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2012, Article ID 217802, 5 pages
Clinical Study

The Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Neurofilament Heavy Chain Levels in Immune-Mediated Optic Neuropathies

1Institute of Neurology, University College London (UCL), London WC1N 3BG, UK
2Department of Neurology, Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum (VUMC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London (UCL), London WC1N 3BG, UK

Received 9 August 2012; Revised 18 November 2012; Accepted 19 November 2012

Academic Editor: Friedemann Paul

Copyright © 2012 Axel Petzold and Gordon T. Plant. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Loss of visual function differs between immune-mediated optic neuropathies and is related to axonal loss in the optic nerve. This study investigated the diagnostic and prognostic value of a biomarker for neurodegeneration, the neurofilament heavy chain (NfH) in three immune-mediated optic neuropathies. Methods. A prospective, longitudinal study including patients with optic neuritis due to multiple sclerosis (MSON, ), chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuritis (CRION, ), neuromyelitis optica (NMO, ), and healthy controls ( ). Serum NfH-SMI35 levels were quantified by ELISA. Findings. Serum NfH-SMI35 levels were highest in patients with NMO (mean  ng/mL) compared to patients with CRION (  ng/mL, ), MSON ( , ), and healthy controls (  ng/mL, ). High serum NfH-SMI35 levels were related to poor visual outcome. Conclusions. Blood NfH-SMI35 levels are of moderate diagnostic and more important prognostic value in immune-mediated optic neuropathies. We speculate that longitudinal blood NfH levels may help to identify particular disabling events in relapsing conditions.