Oligoclonal bands

Oligoclonal bands (OCBs) are bands of immunoglobulins that are seen when a patient's blood serum, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is analyzed. The presence of two or more bands of immunoglobulin on isoelectric focusing (IEF ) of CSF is referred to as 'oligoclonal bands' (OCBs). This CSF oligoclonal banding is only indicative of local CNS IgG production when the banding pattern in the CSF is distinct from the pattern seen in the serum.

While OCBs are well known to assist in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis it is important to recognize that they are found in many other situations like


  • subacute sclerosing panencephalitis
  • rubella panencephalitis
  • neurosyphilis
  • neuroborreliosis

or autoimmune conditions

  • anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis)
  • Guillain–Barré syndrome
  • Neuromyelitic optica

Although it has been suggested that in adults, where multiple sclerosis is a predominant condition that it is only necessary' to request IEF for OCB, in children it is wise to request both quantitative (CSF:serum IgG index) and qualitative (isoelectric focusing for OCB) measures to determine whether there is local CSF IgG synthesis (King, Mary D., & Stephenson, John BP. (Eds.), 2009-10).

Five patterns are typically recognised:

  • Normal CSF pattern - polyclonal IgG
  • Oligoclonal CSF with a normal serum pattern – consistent with MS
  • Oligoclonal bands in CSF not seen in serum but some common oliogoclonal bands found in both – consistent with MS but can have other causes.
  • Identical oligoclonal bands in serum and CSF - this indicates that there is no local synthesis. This pattern is seen in Guillain Barre, HIV infection and other chronic inflammatory states.
  • Monoclonal band in CSF and serum – myeloma or Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

1. ^ King, Mary D., & Stephenson, John BP. (Eds.), 2009-10. A Handbook of Neurological Investigations in Children (Clinics in Developmental Medicine) (PGMKP - A Practical Guide from MKP) (Practical Guides from Mac Keith Press). MacKeith Press, ISBN 1898683697.
ICNA, 2022/04/30 22:27

Please enter your comments here

Biju Hameed, 2022/04/30 22:42

Nephelometric and ELISA free light chains (FLCs) determination is comparable with OCBs as markers of IgG synthesis, and kappa-FLCs(kFLCs) behave even better than oligoclonal bands.

Enter your comment. Wiki syntax is allowed:
  • content/csf_immunoglobulins.txt
  • Last modified: 7 months ago
  • by