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.
Published by Elsevier B.V.