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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 340508, 20 pages
Review Article

Biomarkers in Multiple Sclerosis: An Up-to-Date Overview

Immunogenetics Laboratory, 1st Department of Neurology, Aeginition Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 115 28 Athens, Greece

Received 17 October 2012; Revised 13 December 2012; Accepted 18 December 2012

Academic Editor: Jeroen Geurts

Copyright © 2013 Serafeim Katsavos and Maria Anagnostouli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the last decades, the effort of establishing satisfactory biomarkers for multiple sclerosis has been proven to be very difficult, due to the clinical and pathophysiological complexities of the disease. Recent knowledge acquired in the domains of genomics-immunogenetics and neuroimmunology, as well as the evolution in neuroimaging, has provided a whole new list of biomarkers. This variety, though, leads inevitably to confusion in the effort of decision making concerning strategic and individualized therapeutics. In this paper, our primary goal is to provide the reader with a list of the most important characteristics that a biomarker must possess in order to be considered as reliable. Additionally, up-to-date biomarkers are further divided into three subgroups, genetic-immunogenetic, laboratorial, and imaging. The most important representatives of each category are presented in the text and for the first time in a summarizing workable table, in a critical way, estimating their diagnostic potential and their efficacy to correlate with phenotypical expression, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, disability, and therapeutical response. Special attention is given to the “gold standards” of each category, like HLA-DRB1* polymorphisms, oligoclonal bands, vitamin D, and conventional and nonconventional imaging techniques. Moreover, not adequately established but quite promising, recently characterized biomarkers, like TOB-1 polymorphisms, are further discussed.