Objective: To determine to what extent oligoclonal band (OCB) specificities are clonally interrelated and to what degree they are associated with corresponding B-cell responses in the peripheral blood (PB) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
Methods: Mass-spectrometric proteomic analysis of isoelectric focused (IEF) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) immunoglobulin G (IgG) was used in combination with next-generation deep-immune repertoire sequencing of PB and CSF IgG heavy chain variable regions from MS patients.
Results: We find evidence for ongoing stimulation and maturation to antibody-expressing B cells to occur primarily inside the central nervous system (CNS) compartment. B cells participating in OCB production can also be identified in PB; these cells appear to migrate across the blood-brain barrier and may also undergo further antigen stimulation in the periphery. In individual patients, different bands comprising OCBs are clonally related.
Interpretation: Our data provide a high-resolution molecular analysis of OCBs and strongly support the concept that OCBs are not merely the terminal result of a targeted immune response in MS but represent a component of active B cell immunity that is dynamically supported on both sides of the blood-brain barrier.
© 2014 The Authors Annals of Neurology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Child Neurology Society/American Neurological Association.