Hyperphosphorylated neurofilament NF-H as a predictor of mortality after brain injury in children

date: 1. 5. 2012, author: Zurek J, Bartlova L, Fedora M.
Name Phosphorylated Neurofilament H Human ELISA
Cat. No. RD191138300R RUO
Other names pNF-H
Product category Neural tissue markers, Oncology
Assay format Sandwich ELISA, Biotin-labelled antibody
Calibration range 62.5-4000 pg/ml
Limit of detection 23.5 pg/ml
Applications Cerebrospinal fluid, Plasma, Serum, Tissue extract
Sample requirements
Storage/Shipping Store the complete kit at 2-8°C. Under these conditions, the kit is stable until the expiration date (see label on the box).

Objective

The aim of the study was to determine whether serum levels of hyperphosphorylated neurofilament NF-H correlate with severity of brain injury in children.

Introduction

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. TBI is difficult to assess and clinical examinations are of restricted value during the first hours and days after injury.

Methods

The study protocol and informed consent was approved by Ethics committee of the University Hospital Brno.
Forty-nine patients with TBI were enrolled into the prospective study. Venous blood samples were taken after admission and every 24 h for a maximum of 6 consecutive days. Serum pNF-H was measured by sandwich enzyme immunoassay for the quantitative measurement of human phosphorylated neurofilament H (BioVendor, Laboratorní medicína a.s., Czech Republic).
Clinical outcome was evaluated 6 months after TBI using Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) in all patients.

Results

GOS was taken as principal end-point for all predictive analyses, i.e. analyses that have been performed in order to assess the predictive potential of a set of patient’s and injury characteristics.
Limit of ELISA detection was 12 pg/ml.
Table 1 documents summary statistics of accessible initial characteristics of injured children. It is apparent that common descriptors like age, sex and weight are not related to the final GOS values.
Table 1 also indicates statistically significant relationship between some descriptors and a group of patients with GOS = 1:

  • GCS ≤ 8 (all patients with GOS = 1 belong to this category)
  • Marshall classification score > II (no patient with GOS=1 has Marshall score I or II)- chart 2
  • Increased incidence of some type of injury, as diagnosed using CT examination:
    • intracranial bleeding, subdural hematoma, skull fracture, edema – chart 3
    • multiple CT findings, namely skull fracture in combination with some other injury type- chart 4

All the parameters which significantly distinguished patients with GOS=1 from the others (Table 1) serve as candidates for effective predictors.

The quantitative level of pNF-H remained significantly higher in the risk group (GOS = 1) in comparison with the other patients for the 2nd – 4nd day (Table 2). Ratio pNF-H in 2nd – 6nd day/initial pNF-H value was statistically significantly differentiated both compared group of patients (with GOS =1 and with GOS > 1) (Table 2chart 1).

Levels of pNF-H was significantly higher in patients with diffuse axonal injury on initial CT scan (Table 3chart 2). Increased pNF-H levels (2nd day of hospitalization) was found in Marshal classification (Table 4chart 3).
Single findings and multiple findings are significantly associated with risk score of GCS and Marshall classification score (Table 5). Except for this relationship, the GCS score appears to be rather independent on injury type.
Normal levels pNF-H in the pediatric population is unknown. Objective ROC analysis was identification of optimal cut-offs of proteins for prediction of GOS = 1. The initial level of pNF-H reached very low sensitivity and specificity, in 2nd day cut-off was 117.1 (pg/ml) (Table 6).

Conclusions

Although further, prospective study is warranted, these findings suggest, that levels of hyperphosphorylated neurofilament NF-H correlate with mortality and may be useful as predictors of outcome in children with TBI..

Key Words

children, brain injury, biomarkers, outcome, hyperphosphorylated neurofilament

Table 1:  Summary statistics of sample data 1

Parameters The whole sample GOS > 1 GOS = 1 p2
Sample size N=49 N=42 N=7
Age (months) 103 (8 – 204) 96 (11 – 204) 134 (8 – 171) 0.605
Weight (kg) 36 (4 – 120) 26 (4 – 90) 47 (8 – 120) 0.439
Sex (male) N=26 N=23 N=3 0.559
GCS
GCS≤8 32 25 7
GCS=9 4 4 0
GCS≥10 13 13 0 0.037
Marshal classification
I+II 33 33 0
III+IV 6 3 3
V+VI 10 6 4 <0.001
Initial CT diagnostics
No findings 6 6 0 0.159
Single findings
Intracranial bleeding 23 17 6 0.021
Diffuse axonal injury 9 6 3 0.099
Subdural hematoma 16 11 5 0.022
Contusion 9 8 1 0.757
Skull fracture 20 14 6 0.008
Epidural hematoma 6 4 2 0.200
Subarachnoidal bleeding 27 21 6 0.063
Edema 23 16 7 0.001
Multiple findings
Scull fracture + other findings 18 12 6 0.004
Multiple bleeding findings 17 12 5 0.031
Other combinations 11 11 0 0.049
Days in hospital 6 6 5 0.492

1 Categorical variables are summarized as N and percentage of a given category; continuous variables are described by median and by 5th – 95th percentile range (in parentheses)

2 Statistical significance of difference between groups with GOS > 1 and GOS = 1 was analyzed by means of Mann-Whitney U test (continuous variables) and maximum likelihood chi-square (categorical variables)

Table 2. Summary statistics of NF-H values

Values of NF-H and sample size: The whole sample GOS > 1 GOS = 1 P 2
(patients:with GOS > 1 / with GOS=1)
Quantitative values of NF-H in pg/ml 1
Initial value (38 / 7) 12
(12 – 867)
12
(12 – 867)
36.1
(12 – 1 482)
0.246
2nd day (37 / 7) 12
(12 – 2 200)
      12
(12 – 2 200)
      151.9
(12 – 6 765)
0.027
3rd day (37 / 6)               13
(12 – 3 793)
12
(12 – 2 330)
221.6
(12 – 6 860)
0.019
4th day (34 / 6) 54.2
(12 – 2 761)
12
(12 – 979)
410
(12 – 7 845)
0.010
5th day (31 / 5) 106.7
(12 – 3 484)
94.5
(12 – 3 484)
729.8
(12 – 1 067)
0.091
6th day (30 / 5) 228.8
(12 – 3 607)
203.5
(12 – 3 289)
855.3
(12 – 3 607)
0.086

1 Quantitative values are summarized by median and by 5th – 95th percentile range 

2 Statistical significance of difference between GOS > 1 and GOS = 1 was analyzed by means of Mann-Whitney U test

Chart 1: Quantitative values of NF-H in pg/ml1

Ratio pNF-H in 2nd – 6 nd day/initial pNF-H value was statistically significantly differentiated both compared group of patients (with GOS =1 and with GOS > 1)

Table 3. Initial CT diagnostics in relation to initial values of marker

CT examination No of patients N 1 NF-H initial value (pg/ml) 2
Initial CT diagnostics
No findings 6 15.5   
(12.0 – 90.9)
Single findings
Intracranial bleeding 23 12.0 
(12.0 – 727.0)
Diffuse axonal injury 9 158.7 
(12.0 – 867.0)*
Subdural hematoma 16 12.0 
(12.0 – 1 482.0)
Contusion 9 12.0  
(12.0 – 224.0)
Skull fracture 20 12.0
(12.0 – 727.0)
Epidural hematoma 6 12.0
(12.0 – 36.1)
Subarachnoidal bleeding 27 12.0
(12.0 – 1 442.0)
Edema 23 12.0
(12.0 – 867.0)
Multiple findings
Scull fracture + other findings 18 12.0
(12.0 – 1 482.0)
Multiple bleeding findings 17 12.0
(12.0 – 1 482.0)
Other combinations 11 12.0 
(12.0 – 1 442.0)

1 Diagnostic findings within the whole dataset

2 Median and 5th – 95th percentile range

* statistically significant difference between groups of patients with and without given CT finding; analyzed by Mann-Whitney U test 

Chart 2: Initial CT diagnostics

Levels of pNF-H was significantly higher in patients with diffuse axonal injury on initial CT scan

Table 4: NF-H values stratified according to diagnostic kriteria

NF-H initial value (μg/l) 1 NF-H 2nd day (µg/l) 1
GCS
≤ 8 12
(12.00 – 867.00)
12
(12.00 – 2 413.00)
> 8 12
(12.00 – 1 442.00)
12
(12.00 – 2 200.00)
p-value2  0.559 0.301
Marshal classification
I – II 12
(12.00 – 867.00)
12
(12.00 – 519.00)
III – VI 33.49
(12.00 – 1 482.00)
62.05
(12.00 – 6 765.00)
p-value2 0,062 0,004
Days in hospital
in hospital ≤  6 days 12
(12.00 – 1 442.00)
12
(12.00 – 2 200.00)
in hospital > 6 days 12
(12.00 – 867.00)
12
(12.00 – 2 413.00)
p-value2 0.607 0.688

1 median and 5th – 95th percentile range

2 statistical significance was analyzed by means of Mann-Whitney U test

Chart 3: NF-H values stratified according to diagnostic criteria

Increased pNF-H levels (2nd day of hospitalization) was found in Marshal classification.

Chart 4: Initial CT diagnostics in relation to GCS and Marshal classification

Table 5: Initial CT diagnostics in relation to GCS and Marshal classification

CT examination No of patients GCS ≤  8 Marshall classification III – VI
N 1 N 2 N 2
Initial CT diagnostics
No findings 6 3 0
Single findings
Intracranial bleeding 23 17 11
Diffuse axonal injury 9 8 3
Subdural hematoma 16 11 9
Contusion 9 5 3
Skull fracture 20 11 11
Epidural hematoma 6 4 6
Subarachnoidal bleeding 27 18 12
Edema 23 17 12
Multiple findings
Scull fracture + other findings 18 9 11
Multiple bleeding findings 17 11 10
Other combinations 11 10 1

1 Diagnostic findings within the whole dataset

2 Diagnostic findings in the patients with GCS ≤ 8 or with Marshall classification > II

* statistically significant difference between groups of patients with and without given CT finding; analyzed by ML chi-square

Single findings and multiple findings are significantly associated with risk score of GCS and Marshall classification score.

Table 6: Identification of optimal cut-offs of proteins for prediction of GOS = 1

Potential predictors Cut-off
(µg/l)
Sensitivity Specificity AUC
(95 % CI) 1
p
NF-H initial 134.0 42.9 84.2 0.641
(0.398 –0.884)
0.240
NF-H 2nd day 117.1 71.4 83.8 0.764
(0.541 – 0.988)
0.028

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Data sources

The data sources were taken from:

  • Zurek J, Bartlová L, Fedora M. Hyperphosphorylated neurofilament NF-H as a predictor of mortality after brain injury in children. Brain Inj. 2011; 25(2): 221–6
Catalog NumberSpeciesAnalyteAssayRegulatoryFormat
RD191138300R Human Phosphorylated Neurofilament H Sandwich ELISA, HRP-labelled antibody RUO 96 wells (1 kit)
categories: Neural tissue markers, Oncology