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Biol Chem. 2015 Jun;396(6-7):795-802. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2014-0287.

Subcellular distribution of FTY720 and FTY720-phosphate in immune cells - another aspect of Fingolimod action relevant for therapeutic application.


FTY720 (Fingolimod; Gilenya®) is an immune-modulatory prodrug which, after intracellular phosphorylation by sphingosine kinase 2 (SphK2) and export, mimics effects of the endogenous lipid mediator sphingosine-1-phosphate. Fingolimod has been introduced to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. However, little has been published about the immune cell membrane penetration and subcellular distribution of FTY720 and FTY720-P. Thus, we applied a newly established LC-MS/MS method to analyze the subcellular distribution of FTY720 and FTY720-P in subcellular compartments of spleen cells of wild type, SphK1- and SphK2-deficient mice. These studies demonstrated that, when normalized to the original cell volume and calculated on molar basis, FTY720 and FTY720-P dramatically accumulated several hundredfold within immune cells reaching micromolar concentrations. The amount and distribution of FTY720 was differentially affected by SphK1- and SphK2-deficiency. On the background of recently described relevant intracellular FTY720 effects in the nanomolar range and the prolonged application in multiple sclerosis, this data showing a substantial intracellular accumulation of FTY720, has to be considered for benefit/risk ratio estimates.

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