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Oligoclonal bands

‘Bands’ of antibodies that show the presence of disease activity.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a higher level of antibodies than other people. A test called electrophoresis is used to show the presence of antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid, which is found in the brain and spinal cord. If the test shows two or more visible ‘bands’ of bunched together antibodies, known as 'oligoclonal bands', this indicates the presence of disease activity. Around 80-95% of people with MS have oligoclonal banding in their cerebrospinal fluid, therefore the results of this test are often used alongside other tests in the diagnosis of MS.

MS Trust. Lumbar Puncture. Available at: Accessed April 2020.
National MS Society. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF). Available at: Accessed April 2020.

UK | July 2020 | MUL20-C021