Characterizing plasma NfL in a community-dwelling multi-ethnic cohort: Results from the HABLE study

for the HABLE Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: No large-scale characterizations of neurofilament light chain (NfL) have been conducted in diverse populations. Methods: Baseline data were analyzed among n = 890 Mexican Americans and n = 813 non-Hispanic Whites from the multi-ethnic Health & Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study. Plasma NfL was measured on the Simoa platform. Results: In unadjusted models, NfL was significantly associated with age (P <.001), hypertension (P <.001), dyslipidemia (P =.02), and diabetes (P <.001). Covarying for age and sex, NfL was associated with neurodegeneration (P <.001) and global amyloid burden levels (P =.02) in a subset with available data. NfL levels were significantly associated with diagnostic groups (Normal Cognition [NC], mild cognitive impairment [MCI], Dementia; P <.001); however, there was no cut-score that yielded acceptable diagnostic accuracy. NfL levels produced a sensitivity of 0.60 and specificity of 0.78 with negative predictive value of 89% for detecting amyloid positivity. Discussion: Plasma NfL levels are significantly impacted by age and medical co-morbidities that are common among older adults, which complicate its utility as a diagnostic biomarker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-250
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hispanic
  • Mexican American
  • diversity
  • plasma NfL


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