NOV 18, 2020 6:30 AM PST

Nerve Damage as a Prognostic Marker for Rare Autoimmune Disease

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandes

Researchers have identified a new prognostic biomarker for Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disorder that attacks the nerves and can eventually paralyze the entire body. The biomarker, neurofilament light chain, or NfL, signals the presence of axonal damage. As published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, high circulating levels of NfL in GBS patients were found to be associated with more severe disabilities.

These findings significantly impact the clinical strategies for managing GBS and increase neurologists' understanding of the physiological processes underlying this devastating disease.

"First, they confirm that residual long-term disability in GBS is clearly associated to the degree of axonal damage that happens at the onset of the disease," said Luis Querol, senior author of the study.

"They also suggest that serum NfL could be used to stratify patients at admission, and in the future, select patients who may be candidates for more aggressive therapies or those who may have good prognosis independently of the apparent severity they have at onset," said Querol.

The root causes of GBS continue to mystify scientists, although a large proportion of patients report having a severe respiratory or gastrointestinal infection in the leadup to the disease. Among the early signs of GBS are a prickling sensation in the fingers, limb weakness, and double vision.

Measuring the degeneration of axons, or nerve fibers, can determine a GBS patient’s outcomes and shape clinical interventions moving forward, said Bart Jacobs from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. 

In an editorial on the study, Jacobs writes: "Axonal injury may occur in AMAN as well as acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and in severe cases may result in irreversible degeneration. Treatment with immunoglobulins or plasma-exchange aims to prevent further axonal injury, but clinicians currently have no methods to monitor the response directly."

 

 

Sources: MedPage Today, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

About the Author
PhD
Interested in health technology and innovation.
You May Also Like
JUN 24, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Influenza Vaccine Shown to Decrease the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
JUN 24, 2022
Influenza Vaccine Shown to Decrease the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder affecting memory and mental functions that currently affects over 6 ...
JUL 07, 2022
Cancer
Study Suggests Breast Cancer Spreads while Sleeping
JUL 07, 2022
Study Suggests Breast Cancer Spreads while Sleeping
Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the United States, and experts expect ...
JUL 14, 2022
Cardiology
Air Pollution Linked to Heart Arrhythmia
JUL 14, 2022
Air Pollution Linked to Heart Arrhythmia
Dangerous arrhythmias are more common on high-pollution days.
JUL 26, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Researchers Recognize New Complicating Factor in Organ Transplantation
JUL 26, 2022
Researchers Recognize New Complicating Factor in Organ Transplantation
Organ transplantation is a life-saving measure that is often a last resort to treat end-stage organ failure. Organ trans ...
JUL 27, 2022
Plants & Animals
Green Tea Lowers Blood Sugar, Improves Gut Health
JUL 27, 2022
Green Tea Lowers Blood Sugar, Improves Gut Health
A new study from researchers at the Ohio State University represents one of the first attempts to examine the link betwe ...
AUG 13, 2022
Coronavirus
Kids Can Get Long COVID Even After a Mild Case
AUG 13, 2022
Kids Can Get Long COVID Even After a Mild Case
Researchers and clinicians have found that when people are hospitalized with COVID-19, they are more likely to develop l ...
Loading Comments...