CSF myelin basic protein is a test to measure the level of myelin basic protein (MBP) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
MBP is found in the material that covers your nerves.
Other methods of collecting CSF are rarely used, but may be recommended in some cases. They include:
After the sample is taken, it is sent to a laboratory for evaluation.
See: Lumbar puncture.
For detailed information, see the article on lumbar puncture.
This test is done to see if myelin, the substance covering your nerves, is breaking down. Myelin breakdown is called demyelination. Multiple sclerosis is the most common cause for this, but other causes may include:
In general there should be less than 4 ng/mL of myelin basic protein in the CSF.
Note: ng/mL = nanogram per milliliter
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Myelin basic protein levels between 4 and 8 ng/mL may be a sign of a chronic breakdown of myelin, or recovery from an acute episode of myelin breakdown.
If the myelin basic protein levels are greater than 9 ng/mL, myelin is actively breaking down.
For information on the risks of spinal tap, see: Lumbar puncture and CSF collection.
Griggs RC, Jozefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 418.
Review Date: 6/24/2009
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