Plasma biomarkers associated with ALS and their relationship to iron homeostasis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with complicated pathogenesis with variable presentation and disease progression. There is a critical need for a panel of biomarkers to provide clinicians and researchers with additional information. In this study, multiplex immunoassays were used to screen a number of cytokines, growth factors, and iron-related proteins. ALS patients had significantly higher plasma levels of L-ferritin and lower concentrations of transferrin when compared to healthy controls and together classified a test group of subjects with 82% accuracy. Duration of ALS symptoms correlated positively with levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and negatively with levels of granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The biomarker profile suggests iron homeostasis is disrupted in ALS patients, and changes in ferritin and transferrin (Tf) appear to be indicators of ongoing inflammatory processes. The data demonstrate a plasma biomarker profile in ALS patients that may differ from published reports of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers.