Diagnostic usefulness of cerebrospinal fluid in multiple sclerosis

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1991;28(3):233-51. doi: 10.3109/10408369109106864.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system affecting adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Clinically, it is characterized by episodes of exacerbations and remissions. Although the cause of MS is unknown, it is generally believed that one or more infectious agents triggers an autoimmune response that causes myelin destruction. There is no known cure for this disease; however, early diagnosis is helpful in the management of patients with MS. The diagnosis of MS is commonly made on the basis of established clinical criteria. No specific laboratory diagnostic test exists, but detection of abnormalities in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a useful aid to support the clinical diagnosis of MS. This review describes the most common CSF abnormalities. These include (a) elevation of immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgG index and IgG synthesis rate; and (b) detection of oligoclonal IgG bands in the CSF by electrophoresis and isoelectric-focusing procedures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albumins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin G / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Immunoglobulin G / classification
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology


  • Albumins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains