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CSF Tests: Normal Values


Osvaldo Padilla

, MD, MPH, Texas Tech Health Science Center

Last full review/revision Sep 2018| Content last modified Sep 2018
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Reference values vary based on several factors, including the specific laboratory that supplies them. A patient's CSF test values should be interpreted based on the reference value of the laboratory in which the test was done; the laboratory typically provides these values with the test result. Some of these values are listed in alphabetical order in the following table.


Normal Laboratory Values: CSF*


Conventional Units

SI Units

Cell count

0–5 lymphocytes/mcL

0–5 x 106 lymphocytes/L


40–80 mg/dL (< 40% of simultaneously measured plasma level if that plasma level is abnormal)

2.2–4.4 mmol/L (< 40% of simultaneously measured plasma level is abnormal)

Myelin basic protein

< 1.5 ng/mL

Protein, total

15–60 mg/dL

150–600 mg/L

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