Research Highlight

New biomarkers of stroke

doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.40 Published online 22 March 2013

Researchers have identified two biomarker proteins in stroke patients' blood that can be used to predict and evaluate early neurobehavioural outcome after acute stroke1. The proteins are neuron-specific enolase (NSE), an enzyme found in neurons, and interleukin-10 (IL-10), a protein that regulates immune responses.

The diagnosis and management of stroke are limited by the lack of rapid diagnostic assays that can be performed during emergencies. In a stroke, neurons in the central nervous system release neuronal markers into the cerebrospinal fluid and bloodstream. Two such marker proteins are NSE, which indicates brain damage after stroke, and IL-10 whose levels indicate stroke-associated disruption in immune responses. However, no previous studies had demonstrated that these proteins can be used as markers of stroke and associated complications.

To correlate the levels of these proteins with stroke, the researchers analysed blood samples of 100 ischaemic stroke patients within 72 hours of stroke onset and compared the results with those from healthy individuals. Stroke patients had significantly higher NSE levels and significantly lower IL-10 levels than healthy individuals.

The researchers say that serum concentrations of NSE and IL-10 have a high predictive value for early neurobehavioral outcome after acute stroke.


  1. Shrivastava, A. K. et al. Prognostic value of neuron specific enolase and IL-10 in ischemic stroke and its correlation with degree of neurological deficit. Clin. Chim. Acta (2013) doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2013.02.014