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J Neurol Sci. 2008 Nov 15;274(1-2):13-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.06.031. Epub 2008 Aug 3.

Central nervous system-directed effects of FTY720 (fingolimod).

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Neuroimmunology Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2B4.


FTY720, also known as fingolimod, is an orally administered sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) analogue that is under investigation as a therapy for both relapsing-remitting (RR) and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The demonstrated beneficial effect of FTY720 on disease activity in RR-MS patients and in the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is largely attributed to effects on the systemic immune system. In addition, unlike other current systemic immuno-modulators used in MS, the lipophilic nature of FTY720 allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Since S1P receptors are expressed on all cell types, FTY720 has the potential to exert effects directly on the BBB and on resident cells of the CNS. The latter include cells implicated in regulating immune reactivity within the CNS (astrocytes, microglia), those that are targeted by the disease process (oligodendrocytes, neurons), and those involved in repair (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells). In vitro studies document the dose-dependent effects of FTY720 on neural cell survival, differentiation, and cytoskeletal dynamics. Animal model studies, specifically EAE, indicate an overall neuroprotective effect of FTY720 mediated at least in part by its actions within the CNS. Ongoing studies will need to define the direct and indirect (via immune-modulation) effects of FTY720 on the CNS across the broad clinical spectrum of MS.

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