Oligoclonal bands and increased cytokine levels in idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Cephalalgia. 2015 Nov;35(13):1153-61. doi: 10.1177/0333102415570762. Epub 2015 Feb 19.


Objectives: The pathogenesis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is currently unknown and there are speculations about the contribution of some immunologic factors. The aim of this study is to investigate the presence of oligoclonal bands (OCBs) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and/or serum cytokine levels in patients with IIH.

Methods: Patients fulfilling revised diagnostic criteria for IIH were included. Their demographic, clinical, ophthalmologic and laboratory features were examined. Serum and CSF samples were detected by isoelectric focusing and immunoblotting for OCBs. The samples of IIH patients and control groups were investigated by ELISA for cytokine levels.

Results: We detected OCBs in eight (30.77%) patients diagnosed with IIH. There were no other obvious clinical and laboratory differences of IIH profiles between the patients with and without OCBs, but frequency of vision loss was significantly higher in the group with OCBs in comparison to OCB negatives (p = 0.038). Patients with IIH had highly elevated TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, IL-17 in their sera compared to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls. Furthermore, all cytokines except TNF-α in the CSF were found significantly higher in IIH patients compared to MS controls.

Conclusion: The presence of OCBs and elevated cytokine levels in IIH patients may support an immunologic background in the pathophysiological pathway of this disorder.

Keywords: Oligoclonal bands; cytokine; idiopathic intracranial hypertension; immunology; vision loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Cytokines / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / blood*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Oligoclonal Bands / blood*
  • Oligoclonal Bands / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Oligoclonal Bands