Neurofilament light chain

Cutting-edge testing to detect neurodegenerative disease

For patients who present with symptoms of cognitive decline, confirming neuronal damage or neurodegeneration is critical for deciding on the proper diagnostic pathway. Testing to detect for neurofilament light chain (NfL), a generic marker of neurodegeneration, is helpful to confirm disease presence and shows promise as an outcome predictor for several neurological conditions.

Propelled by Mayo Clinic-led research, Mayo Clinic Laboratories has implemented a first-in-class test that identifies NfL in blood. Validated to align with CAP and CLIA testing guidelines, the test is a digital ELISA assay that uses the state-of-the art Quanterix Simoa® platform to provide increased sensitivity for detection of NfL in plasma.

Test results that show an elevated NfL concentration confirm presence of a neurodegenerative disease process. This equips providers with increased confidence that their patients are on the correct diagnostic pathway while providing guidance on disease-specific assessments to shorten a patient’s diagnostic journey.

Key testing

NFLC | Neurofilament Light Chain, Plasma


  • Evaluates NfL concentrations in blood to assess for neuronal damage.
  • Provides increased sensitivity through use of digital ELISA testing via the Quanterix Simoa® platform.
  • A positive result suggests the presence of a neurodegenerative disease process.
  • Results reported in accordance with established age-based reference intervals.

When to consider testing

Blood NfL as a marker of neuro-axonal injury shows promising associations with outcomes in several neurological conditions. Consider testing in suspected cases of neurodegeneration including Alzheimer’s disease, frontal temporal dementia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease.

A Test in Focus

Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich, Ph.D., describes Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ new blood test to detect NfL, or neurofilament light chain protein. NfL is a biomarker for several neurodegenerative conditions. The new assay can determine if a patient’s cognitive decline is due to a neurodegenerative condition or some other, reversible condition — while avoiding the need for more-invasive testing of cerebrospinal fluid.

Learn more about how to order this evaluation at your institution.