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oligo bands
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oligo bands

does anyone know the significance of the number of oligo bands found in the CSF?  the specialist that I just went to said I had 10 and that 5 is indicative of an MS diagnosis (or something like that?).  I just didn't know how to look at that number.  Do I look at it as just 5 more or twice what would indicate MS?  Am I even making sense?  Just curious "how bad" that number is.  Angela
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220917_tn?1309788081
Hi, Angela~

I thought that anything more than 2 would be enough to investigate MS.  I think Quix had two bands when she was diagnosed (with other diagnosing criteria).  I'm not sure of much more than that.  I see what you're asking.  I would say that 10 bands seems rather high, indicating a lot of disease activity, perhaps.  How do you feel in terms of functioning?  Do you feel you've lost much?  Your leg function, bladder, eyes... I know you stated you have had lots of symptoms.  It's just so hard to keep track of everyone, and I'm sorry I don't remember all your symptoms.  

It may be that you do have lots of disease activity without loss of function.  That would be great!  That they've caught everything early enough so that they can stop the progression NOW before anything more is lost.

I hope that helps a little.  Wish I knew more...

Zilla*
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246236_tn?1275482502
Thanks for the insights on the bands.  Still not sure of what the significance is in the number, but I'm going to call the specialist in the morning I think because it's kinda bugging me!  I have a lot of muscle weakness on my left side, numb patches in different areas of my body, fatigue, bladder retention and urgency (more retention than urgency)...those are a few of my  main symptoms.  I'll let the forum know if I find out anything from the neuro.  Thanks again!  Angela
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147426_tn?1317269232
Hi,.  That's quite a hefty # of O-bands, there!  The exact number really doesn't matter.  Different specialists use different numbers and, in reality, any O-bands is suggestive of (but not diagnostic of) MS.  I had an elevated IgG index and only one O-band (my neuro would have preferred 2 or more) but it was still considered a postive result.

An oligoclonal band is a stripe on the test that looks at all the antibodies being produced in either the blood or the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid).  The test shows the antibodies as they "migrate" down a ribbon and show up normally as a wide hazy band of thousands of different antibodies, which everyone has.  But, in inflammatory diseases, one antibody-producing cell line will have a huge number of cells, that is there is a clone of cells (called plasma cells) making one particular antibody.  That antibody will be present in far larger amounts than other antibodies.  On the test a clone of cells making one antibody will show up as a shrap, narrow "band."

"Oligo" means few.  So OligoClonal indicates a group of cloned cells making an antibody.

When they send the CSF for testing, they also draw blood, preferably the same day.  They run the test looking for antibodies and especially the bright, sharp "bands" which indicate a clone of cells at work.  If there is inflammation in the body there may be several "oligoclonal bands" in the blood test.  In normal circumstances these same bands would be expected to be in the spinal fluid.  So they compare the bands seen in the body (if any) to any band seen in the CSF.  If the bands match up, it just means there is a systemic inflammatory process in the body.  Most often there are bands out in the body, but not in the CSF.

If there is an inflammatory process occuring in the Central Nervous System (CNS), then the immune system is active locally in the brain and/or spine and produces antibodies.  In MS and some other diseases like infections (Lyme, encephalitis, etc) there will be O-Bands in the CSF.  But, when they compare the bands from the CSF with any bands in the blood, the CSF will have some that are NOT present in the bloodstream.  This means the O-Bands are actually being produced in the Central Nervous System.  These unique bands are the ones they count as "Positive" when they test the spinal fluid.

The significance of the number of oligoclonal band in your case is just that there is quite a lot of immune activity going on in your CNS.  That also implies a lot of inflammation, but mostly it is evidence of unusual (abnormal) immune activity.  Your result is highly suggestive of MS, but we have discussed that before and by now, you have seen the neuro specialist.  I'll go over and respond to that post.

Quix
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246236_tn?1275482502
Thanks Quix, your explanation is much appreciated.  By the way, how are you feeling?  I noticed you'd been MIA from the forum and I hope you're doing okay.  Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions/ponderings!  Angela
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