OBJECTIVE: In the management of epilepsy, there is an ongoing quest to discover new biomarkers to improve the diagnostic process, the monitoring of disease progression, and the evaluation of treatment responsiveness. In this regard, biochemical traceability in biofluids is notably absent in contrast to other diseases. In the present preclinical study, we investigated the potential of neurofilament light chain (NfL) as a possible diagnostic and response fluid biomarker for epilepsy.

METHODS: We gained insights into NfL levels during the various phases of the intrahippocampal kainic acid mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy-namely, the status epilepticus (SE) and the chronic phase with spontaneous seizures. To this end, NfL levels were determined directly in the cerebral interstitial fluid (ISF) with cerebral open flow microperfusion as sampling technique, as well as in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma. Lastly, we assessed whether NfL levels diminished upon curtailing SE with diazepam and ketamine.

RESULTS: NfL levels are higher during SE in both cerebral ISF and plasma in kainic acid-treated mice compared to sham-injected mice. Additionally, ISF and plasma NfL levels are lower in mice treated with diazepam and ketamine to stop SE compared with the vehicle-treated mice. In the chronic phase with spontaneous seizures, higher NfL levels could only be detected in ISF and CSF samples, and not in plasma. No correlations could be found between NfL levels and seizure burden, nor with immunohistological markers for neurodegeneration/inflammation.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings demonstrate the translational potential of NfL as a blood-based fluid biomarker for SE. This is less evident for chronic epilepsy, as in this case higher NfL levels could only be detected in ISF and CSF, and not in plasma, acknowledging the invasive nature of CSF sampling in chronic epilepsy follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2200-2211
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date2 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • cerebral open flow microperfusion
  • fluid biomarker
  • Kainic Acid
  • neurofilament light chain
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy


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