Cystatin C in cerebrospinal fluid as a biomarker of ALS.

Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo City, Hokkaido, Japan.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is diagnosed on the basis of progressive symptoms in both the upper and lower motor neurons. Because there are no specific biomarkers for ALS, it is difficult to diagnose this disease in its early stages. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were obtained from 14 patients in the early stages of ALS, from 13 with polyneuropathy, and from 16 with other neurological disorders. The concentration of cystatin C in the CSF was measured using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit. The concentration of cystatin C in the CSF was significantly lower in ALS patients than in the control subjects who were patients with polyneuropathy or other neurological diseases (patients with ALS, polyneuropathy, and other diseases exhibited 5.5 +/- 0.3, 6.7 +/- 0.4, and 6.9 +/- 0.3 mg/L cystatin C, respectively; ALS patients vs. control subjects: p = 0.014 and ALS patients vs. polyneuropathy patients: p = 0.024). Cystatin C may be a useful biomarker of ALS and can be used to distinguish between ALS and polyneuropathy.