What are Oligoclonal Bands? | MS Dictionary | Living Like You

It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

People with MS typically have a higher level of antibodies than others, so this can be used as a way to diagnose the condition. You may be asked to have a lumbar puncture to take a sample of spinal fluid, which is then tested to see if this is the case. If the test shows two or more visible ‘bands’ of bunched-together antibodies, known as 'oligoclonal bands', this suggests the presence of disease activity. This occurs in around 80-95% of people with Multiple Sclerosis.


  1. MS Trust. Lumbar Puncture. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/lumbar-puncture. Accessed October 2020.
  2. National MS Society. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF). Available at: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/Diagnosing-Tools/Cerebrospinal-Fluid-(CSF). Accessed April 2020.

Share Your Story

Visit the Living Like You social channels to join the discussion and get the latest updates.