neurofilament light chain (NfL) and peripheral neuropathy

Last edited 12/2022 and last reviewed 01/2023

Measurement of neurofilament light chain and peripheral neuropathy

Neurofilaments are the major cytoskeletal proteins of neurons in both the CNS and peripheral nervous system and form a lattice comprising neurofilament light (NfL), medium, and heavy (NfH) chains

  • NfL
    • is a cytoskeleton protein expressed in large calibre myelinated axons
    • has a functional role in axonal growth and stability and a high expression in neuronal tissue
    • neuroaxonal damage in peripheral nerves results in the release of NfLthe extracellular space and peripheral blood, depending on the extent of damage

  • has been shown that neurofilament light chain (NfL) concentration is elevated in patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) (1)

  • monitoring of sNfL during chemotherapy can indicate ongoing neuroaxonal injury and the severity of oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy (OIPN) (2)

  • a systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that blood-based measure of neurofilament light chain may be a useful indicator of neuronal injury in patients with peripheral neuropathy (3)