Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers to Differentiate iNPH from Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Disease

Manniche C, Simonsen AH, Hasselbalch SG, Andreasson U, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Høgh P, Juhler M & Hejl A

This paper examines if novel CSF biomarkers can differentiate idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus from subcortical ischemic vascular disease.


Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) remains a challenge to differentiate from subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD). Despite major research efforts, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker profiles of the two diseases are still not known in detail.


To determine if novel CSF biomarkers, neurofilament light (NFL) reflecting axonal damage, the synaptic protein neurogranin (NG), and the astroglial marker chitinase-3-like protein 1 (YKL-40), and the core Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers, amyloid-β 42 (Aβ42), total tau (t-tau), phosphorylated tau (p-tau), can differentiate iNPH from SIVD. Patients with AD and healthy controls (HC) were included for comparison purposes.


Patients with iNPH (n = 28), SIVD (n = 30), AD (n = 57), and HC (n = 33) were retrospectively included from the Danish Dementia Biobank. All patients with iNPH had effect of shunt surgery with a follow-up period of 4 to 69 months. CSF biomarkers were measured using immunoassays.


Lower levels of NFL, NG, Aβ42, and t-tau were found in patients with iNPH versus SIVD, while YKL-40 and p-tau were similar in the two diseases. NFL and Aβ42 were the most reliable biomarkers to differentiate iNPH from SIVD with an area under the curve (AUC) on 0.82 and 0.80, respectively. Combining NFL with Aβ42, t-tau, and p-tau resulted in an AUC of 0.90, which was equivalent to the diagnostic accuracy of all six biomarkers combined.


An addition of NFL to the CSF panel of Aβ42, t-tau, and p-tau may improve the differentiation of iNPH from SIVD.

Read the full paper in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (click here).