To the Editor.—
Two recent reports have documented the presence of oligoclonal bands in the serum1 and cerebrospinal fluid2 of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These bands were found to be composed of IgG immunoglobulins of unknown specificity. The finding is important from a pathophysiological perspective, but lacks diagnostic significance since all of the patients described manifested AIDS prior to the recognition of the oligoclonal bands. We report the discovery of oligoclonal bands in the serum of seven patients with antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who do not yet manifest AIDS. The presence of oligoclonal bands in the serum should alert the clinician to the possibility of HIV-related disease.
We conducted a retrospective review of over 2500 serum protein electrophoretograms performed over a 16-month period. Approximately 1% (24 electrophoretograms from 19 patients) demonstrated oligoclonal paraprotein bands in the γ-globulin region. The Figure shows a typical
Kouns DM, Marty AM, Sharpe RW. Oligoclonal Bands in Serum Protein Electrophoretograms of Individuals With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibodies. JAMA. 1986;256(17):2343. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380170059011