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A study of oligoclonal band negative multiple sclerosis.
  1. A Z Zeman,
  2. D Kidd,
  3. B N McLean,
  4. M A Kelly,
  5. D A Francis,
  6. D H Miller,
  7. B E Kendall,
  8. P Rudge,
  9. E J Thompson,
  10. W I McDonald
  1. Institute of Neurology, University of London, UK.


    OBJECTIVES--To determine whether oligoclonal band (OCB) negative multiple sclerosis is a reliable diagnosis and, if so, whether it has a distinctive prognosis. METHODS--Retrospective and matched prospective comparison of the clinical and laboratory features of patients with clinical definite multiple sclerosis with and without intrathecal synthesis of oligoclonal IgG. RESULTS--Thirty four patients were identified with apparent OCB negative clinically definite multiple sclerosis. The results of oligoclonal banding proved to have been equivocal in 14 of 34; the clinical diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was questionable in 8 of 34. The remaining 12 patients with "true" OCB negative multiple sclerosis were significantly less disabled than matched OCB positive controls. Re-examination of CSF-serum pairs from six OCB negative patients showed that three remained OCB negative while three showed evidence of intrathecal synthesis of OCBs. CONCLUSIONS--OCB negative clinically definite multiple sclerosis is rare and should be diagnosed with caution; in unequivocal cases it seems to have a relatively benign prognosis.

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