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Evaluation of central nervous system inflammation and B-cell proliferative diseases
Beta-2-microglobulin (B-2-M) is a small membrane protein (11,800 Dalton) associated with the heavy chains of class I major histocompatibility complex proteins and is, therefore, on the surface of all nucleated cells. The small size allows B-2-M to pass through the glomerular membrane, but it is almost completely reabsorbed in the proximal tubules.
Increased B-2-M levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been shown to be of diagnostic use in non-Hodgkin lymphoma with central nervous system involvement. Elevated CSF:serum ratios seen in patients with aseptic meningo-encephalitis suggest the possibility of neurologic processes including those associated with HIV infection and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. B-2-M measurement in multiple sclerosis seems to be of indeterminate usefulness.
Elevations of cerebrospinal fluid beta-2-microgobulin levels may be seen in a number of diseases including malignancies, autoimmune disease, and neurological disorders.
No significant cautionary statements.
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