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The diagnostic significance of antibody specificity indices in multiple sclerosis and herpes virus induced diseases of the nervous system


The antibody specificity index (ASI) indicates the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)/serum difference of antibody amounts per weight unit IgG (normal < 1.5). It has proven to be the most sensitive inflammation parameter in CSF analysis so far, more sensitive than the Western blot, the “oligoclonal” response, and the empirical differentiation of CSF immunoglobulins. By this diagnostic criterion, several benign viral meningitis cases were found to be caused by the varicella/zoster virus. The diagnostic relevance of local zoster antibody synthesis was greatest in ganglionitis cases, e.g., in zoster oticus sine herpete (facial paresis) and acute radicular syndromes of the elderly. The diagnostic significance of the local immune response against measles, rubella, and zoster antigens (MRZ response) was ascertained further. Together with oligoclonal gamma-globulin fractionation, there is now only 1 out of 100 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients left who has been found to have a normal CSF.

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antibody specificity index


arbitrary unit


cerebrospinal fluid


human immunodeficiency virus


herpes simplex virus




locally synthesized immunoglobulin


magnetic resonance imaging


measles, rubella, zoster


multiple sclerosis




CSF/serum concentration quotient


limiting concentration quotient




sodium dodecyl sulfate




varicella/zoster virus


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Felgenhauer, K., Reiber, H. The diagnostic significance of antibody specificity indices in multiple sclerosis and herpes virus induced diseases of the nervous system. Clin Investig 70, 28–37 (1992).

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Key words

  • Cerebrospinal fluid antibodies
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Herpes infections
  • Zoster
  • Facial paresis (Bell's palsy)