In multiple sclerosis, oligoclonal bands connect to peripheral B-cell responses

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Objective:To determine to what extent oligoclonal band (OCB) specificities are clonally interrelated and to what degree they are associated with corresponding B-cell responses in the peripheral blood (PB) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.Methods:Mass-spectrometric proteomic analysis of isoelectric focused (IEF) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) immunoglobulin G (IgG) was used in combination with next-generation deep-immune repertoire sequencing of PB and CSF IgG heavy chain variable regions from MS patients.Results:We find evidence for ongoing stimulation and maturation to antibody-expressing B cells to occur primarily inside the central nervous system (CNS) compartment. B cells participating in OCB production can also be identified in PB; these cells appear to migrate across the blood–brain barrier and may also undergo further antigen stimulation in the periphery. In individual patients, different bands comprising OCBs are clonally related.Interpretation:Our data provide a high-resolution molecular analysis of OCBs and strongly support the concept that OCBs are not merely the terminal result of a targeted immune response in MS but represent a component of active B cell immunity that is dynamically supported on both sides of the blood-brain barrier. Ann Neurol 2014;75:266–276

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