Soluble neural cell adhesion molecule and behavioural recovery in minimally conscious patients undergoing transcranial direct current stimulation.


Department of Life Science and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is used for therapeutic purpose in severely brain-injured patients. The relationship between the recovery after tDCS and potential biomarkers in plasma has been limitedly investigated in patients with minimal conscious state (MCS).
OBJECTIVE : To investigate soluble neuronal adhesion molecule (sNCAM) plasma levels in relation to tDCS and recovery processes in MCS.
METHODS : sNCAM was measured in plasma before (T-1,T0), during (T1) and after (T2, T3) tDCS sessions in eight patients with a post traumatic etiology and at least one year of chronic state.
RESULTS : While sNCAM levels were highly correlated overtime, no significant difference was observed in relation to tDCS. An inverse relation was observed between sNCAM levels at baseline and the tDCS long-lasting effects (T-1, r = -0.852, p = 0.007; T0, r = -0.787, p = 0.020).
CONCLUSIONS : This exploratory research suggests the sNCAM levels, potentially associated with tDCS outcomes, as a candidate biomarker of neurobiological after-effects in MCS patients.


Minimally conscious state,Soluble NCAM,Traumatic brain injury,tDCS,