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Neurofilament light chain as novel blood biomarker of disturbed neuroaxonal integrity in patients with ketamine dependence


Liu, Yu-Li; Bavato, Francesco; Chung, An-Nie; Liu, Tung-Hsia; Chen, Yi-Lung; Huang, Ming-Chyi; Quednow, Boris B (2021). Neurofilament light chain as novel blood biomarker of disturbed neuroaxonal integrity in patients with ketamine dependence. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 22(9):713-721.

Abstract

Objectives: Chronic and heavy ketamine use has been associated with persistent neurocognitive impairment and structural brain abnormalities. Blood levels of neurofilament light chain (NFL) was recently proposed as a measure of axonal integrity in several neuropsychiatric disorders. We aimed to characterise the axonal neurotoxicity of chronic ketamine use and its relationship to relevant clinical outcomes.

Methods: We enrolled 65 treatment-seeking ketamine-dependent patients (55 males and 10 females) and 60 healthy controls (51 males and 9 females). Blood NFL levels measured by single molecule array (SiMoA) immunoassay. We compared NFL levels between groups and used regression analyses to identify clinical variables related to NFL levels.

Results: Ketamine-dependent patients had significantly higher NFL levels compared to controls (p < 0.001). A multivariate regression showed that age (p < 0.05) and lifetime history of major depressive disorder (MDD) (p < 0.01) predicted high NFL blood levels in patients. Subsequent group comparisons showed that specifically ketamine-dependent patients with a lifetime history of MDD had significantly increased NFL levels than those without (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: These results suggest substantial neuroaxonal alterations following chronic and heavy ketamine use. The pronounced increase of NFL levels in the MDD subgroup warrants further investigation of a potential neuroaxonal vulnerability of depressed patients to ketamine.

Keywords: Ketamine; addiction; axons; depression; neurofilaments.

Abstract

Objectives: Chronic and heavy ketamine use has been associated with persistent neurocognitive impairment and structural brain abnormalities. Blood levels of neurofilament light chain (NFL) was recently proposed as a measure of axonal integrity in several neuropsychiatric disorders. We aimed to characterise the axonal neurotoxicity of chronic ketamine use and its relationship to relevant clinical outcomes.

Methods: We enrolled 65 treatment-seeking ketamine-dependent patients (55 males and 10 females) and 60 healthy controls (51 males and 9 females). Blood NFL levels measured by single molecule array (SiMoA) immunoassay. We compared NFL levels between groups and used regression analyses to identify clinical variables related to NFL levels.

Results: Ketamine-dependent patients had significantly higher NFL levels compared to controls (p < 0.001). A multivariate regression showed that age (p < 0.05) and lifetime history of major depressive disorder (MDD) (p < 0.01) predicted high NFL blood levels in patients. Subsequent group comparisons showed that specifically ketamine-dependent patients with a lifetime history of MDD had significantly increased NFL levels than those without (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: These results suggest substantial neuroaxonal alterations following chronic and heavy ketamine use. The pronounced increase of NFL levels in the MDD subgroup warrants further investigation of a potential neuroaxonal vulnerability of depressed patients to ketamine.

Keywords: Ketamine; addiction; axons; depression; neurofilaments.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:21 October 2021
Deposited On:27 Aug 2021 14:18
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 01:43
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
ISSN:1562-2975
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2021.1907709
PubMed ID:33783299