The choice of appropriate control group(s) is critical in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker research in multiple sclerosis (MS). There is a lack of definitions and nomenclature of different control groups and a rationalized application of different control groups. We here propose consensus definitions and nomenclature for the following groups: healthy controls (HCs), spinal anesthesia subjects (SASs), inflammatory neurological disease controls (INDCs), peripheral inflammatory neurological disease controls (PINDCs), non-inflammatory neurological controls (NINDCs), symptomatic controls (SCs). Furthermore, we discuss the application of these control groups in specific study designs, such as for diagnostic biomarker studies, prognostic biomarker studies and therapeutic response studies. Application of these uniform definitions will lead to better comparability of biomarker studies and optimal use of available resources. This will lead to improved quality of CSF biomarker research in MS and related disorders.
Keywords: Biomarkers; cerebrospinal fluid; control groups; study design.