The identification of diagnostic-prognostic biomarkers of dementia has become a global priority due to the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases in aging populations. The objective of this study was to assess the diagnostic performance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers across patients affected by either Alzheimer’s disease (AD), tauopathies other than AD (TP), or vascular dementia (VD), and cognitively normal subjects (CNS). One hundred fifty-three patients were recruited and tested for classical AD CSF biomarkers- Amyloid-ß42 and tau proteins - and novel candidate biomarkers - neurofilament (NF-) light and microRNA (miR) -21, -125b, -146a, and -222.

All dementia patients had significantly higher concentrations of NF-light compared to CNS, with the TP group displaying the highest NF-light values. A significant inverse correlation was also observed between NF-light and cognitive impairment. Of the four miRNAs analyzed, miR-222 levels were significantly increased in VD patients compared to both CNS and AD. In addition, while NF-light showed a better diagnostic performance than miR-222 and classical AD biomarkers in differentiating TP and VD from CNS, classical AD biomarkers revealed higher performance in discriminating AD from non-AD disorders.

Overall, our results suggest that CSF NF-light and miR-222 are promising biomarkers that may help to diagnose non-AD disorders.