Plasma neurofilament light chain (NfL) reference interval determination in an Age-stratified cognitively unimpaired cohort

Joshua A. Bornhorst, Daniel Figdore, Michelle R. Campbell, Vanessa K. Pazdernik, Michelle M. Mielke, Ronald C. Petersen, Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is an emerging biomarker of neurodegenerative disease progression. As plasma NfL increases with age, characterization of NfL concentrations in an age-stratified cognitively unimpaired population was assessed. Materials and Methods: EDTA-plasma samples were measured using the Simoa® NF-light™ Advantage Kit assay. One-sided reference intervals were established from 1100 cognitive normal individuals (588 male, 512 female) aged 20 to 95 years. Of those, 927 samples were obtained from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging cohort (age > 50 years), and the remainder (age < 50 years) were obtained from individuals without known neurological conditions. All samples were from individuals without known chronic kidney disease, stroke or myocardial infarction, and a body mass index < 30 kg/m2. Results: The 97.5th percentile limits for the following age ranges (in years) were (pg/mL): 20 s: ≤8.4, 30 s: ≤11.4, 40 s: ≤15.4, 50 s: ≤20.8, 60 s: ≤28.0, 70 s: ≤37.9, 80+: ≤51.2. Sex had no significant effect on reference intervals. Observed NfL concentrations increased at a rate of 3.1 % per year of age. Conclusions: Characterization of the rate of NfL concentration increase and decade-wide reference intervals from a neurologically well-characterized patient population will aid in interpretation of NfL during the clinical evaluation of a potential neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Neurofilament light chain
  • Neurological disease marker
  • NfL
  • Plasma
  • Reference interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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