In multiple sclerosis, oligoclonal bands connect to peripheral B-cell responses

Ann Neurol. 2014 Feb;75(2):266-76. doi: 10.1002/ana.24088. Epub 2014 Feb 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / immunology
  • Oligoclonal Bands / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Proteome
  • Young Adult


  • Oligoclonal Bands
  • Proteome