An update on the use of cerebrospinal fluid analysis as a diagnostic tool in multiple sclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Intrathecal B-lymphocyte activation is a hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS), a multi-factorial inflammatory-demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Such activation has a counterpart in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) oligoclonal IgG bands (OCB), whose diagnostic role in MS has been downgraded within the current McDonald's criteria. With a theoretico-practical approach, the authors review the physiopathological basis of the CSF dynamics, and the state-of-the-art of routine CSF analysis and CSF biomarkers in MS. Areas covered: The authors discuss pros and cons of CSF analysis, including critical evaluations of both well-established, and promising diagnostic and prognostic laboratory tools. New acquisitions on the CSF and cerebral interstitial fluid dynamics are also presented. The authors searched the PubMed database for English-language articles reported between January 2010 and June 2016, using the key words 'multiple sclerosis', 'cerebrospinal fluid', 'oligoclonal bands'. Reference lists of relevant articles were scanned for additional studies. Expert commentary: The availability of performing high-quality, routine CSF tests in specialized laboratories, the emerging potential of novel CSF biomarkers, and the trend for early treatments should induce a reappraisal of CSF analysis for diagnostic and prognostic purposes in MS. Further procedural and methodological improvements seem to be necessary in both research and translational diagnostic CSF settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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