Can a person still have MS if their CSF was negative for oligoclonal bands but the MRI shows lesions in the brain?
A person may have MS without oligoclonal bands or other evidence of intrathecal immune activation in their CSF but this is less common and always raises the possibility of alternative diagnoses. Using older techniques approximately 70-80 % of definite MS patients will have oligoclonal banding in the CSF by agarose gel electrophoresis. The newer technique, called isoelectric focusing (IEF), available and in use for more than 20 years has a sensitivity of 90-95 %.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Director of Hillcrest Neurology
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego