International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Jul 2015)

Brain-Specific Cytoskeletal Damage Markers in Cerebrospinal Fluid: Is There a Common Pattern between Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis?

  • Ahmed Abdelhak,
  • Andreas Junker,
  • Johannes Brettschneider,
  • Jan Kassubek,
  • Albert C. Ludolph,
  • Markus Otto,
  • Hayrettin Tumani

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 8
pp. 17565 – 17588


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Many neurodegenerative disorders share a common pathophysiological pathway involving axonal degeneration despite different etiological triggers. Analysis of cytoskeletal markers such as neurofilaments, protein tau and tubulin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be a useful approach to detect the process of axonal damage and its severity during disease course. In this article, we review the published literature regarding brain-specific CSF markers for cytoskeletal damage in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in order to evaluate their utility as a biomarker for disease progression in conjunction with imaging and histological markers which might also be useful in other neurodegenerative diseases associated with affection of the upper motor neurons. A long-term benefit of such an approach could be facilitating early diagnostic and prognostic tools and assessment of treatment efficacy of disease modifying drugs.