Pathology Handbook

CSF - Oligoclonal Bands



Clinical Indications

Demonstration of the presence of oligoclonal bands in the CSF is used in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other related conditions. 

Request Form 

Request on ICE


On request

Specific Criteria

The following must be indicated on the request form

  • Clinical indication for request

  • provisional or differential diagnosis

  • Length of history

  • Myelogram etc. as available

Turnaround Time

2 weeks


For optimum analysis and interpretation it is important that the CSF samples is accompanied by a serum sample taken the same day.


Minimum of 0.5 ml.


White Capped Universal and blood collected into SST tube

Lab Handling

Sent to referral laboratory

*link to referral tests*

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled sample; inadequate clinical information.


Oligoclonal bands will be found in over 90% of patients with clinically definitive MS, but may also be found in other inflammatory lesions affecting the CNS. Presence of identical oligoclonal bands in both CSF and serum suggests a systemic process, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.