gms | German Medical Science

21st Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society and 8th Symposium of the International Society of Ocular Trauma (ISOT)

German Retina Society
International Society of Ocular Trauma

19.06. - 22.06.2008, Würzburg

A new biomarker for retinal degeneration: vitreous body neurofilaments

Meeting Abstract

  • Anselm G.M. Jünemann - Erlangen/Germany
  • A. Petzold - Erlangen/Germany
  • K. Rejdak - Erlangen/Germany
  • T. Zarnowski - Tübingen/Germany
  • S. Thaler - Lublin/Polen
  • F.E. Kruse - Erlangen/Germany
  • E. Zrenner - Tübingen/Germany
  • R. Rejdak - Erlangen/Germany

Retinologische Gesellschaft. International Society of Ocular Trauma. 21. Jahrestagung der Retinologischen Gesellschaft gemeinsam mit dem 8. Symposium der International Society of Ocular Trauma. Würzburg, 19.-22.06.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2008. DocISOTRG2008V104

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: June 18, 2008

© 2008 Jünemann et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Purpose: An important cause for loss of visual function is thinning of the retinal nerve fibre layer due to loss of axons. Degenerating axons release cell–type specific proteins such as neurofilaments into the adjacent compartment. Here we tested whether the phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (NfH-SMI35) could be measured from human vitreous body homogenate or anterior chamber fluid using a standard ELISA technique.

Methods and Results: We found NfH-SMI35 to be quantifiable from the vitreous body homogenate, but not from the anterior chamber fluid. Patients suffering from retinal detachment had significantly higher vitreous NfH-SMI35 levels compared to those suffering from epiretnial gliosis or macular holes, but not compared to organ donors. This suggests that some of the patients with retinal detachment may already have suffered from considerable axonal loss prior to surgery. High vitreous body fluid NfH-SMI35 levels in retinal detachment may therefore represent a poor prognostic sign.

Conclusions: The presented method may be useful for testing new neuroprotective strategies in a range of models developed to study the loss of retinal axons and their ganglion cells experimentally, as well as serving as a biomarker for future human studies.