Analyses of cerebrospinal fluid in the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple sclerosis

J Neuroimmunol. 2010 Feb 26;219(1-2):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Sep 25.


The laboratory evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been routinely employed as a diagnostic test in the diagnosis of neuroimmunological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently, CSF analyses in MS have garnered renewed interest as a tool for monitoring disease activity and prognosis. With the identification of patients that are very early in their disease course, namely patients with a radiologically isolated (RIS) or a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), the true value of these evaluations has yet to be fully explored. Ultimately, the hope is that biomarkers within this compartment will be identified that will identify etiologic factors of MS and other inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system. In this review we discuss the history of CSF diagnostic tests and the most recent methodological advances. We also outline the potentially important diagnostic role and possible limitations of these tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Oligoclonal Bands / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Biomarkers
  • Oligoclonal Bands