Fumaric acid esters (FAE) have proven their therapeutic efficacy in psoriasis, a Th1 mediated skin disease. More recently, preliminary data have suggested an activity in multiple sclerosis (MS) as well. To investigate further possible mechanisms of action of these compounds in inflammatory diseases, we studied the FAE methyl hydrogen fumarate (MHF) and dimethyl fumarate (DMF) in chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by immunization of C57BL/6 mice with MOG peptide aa 35-55. Preventive treatment with these FAE was delivered twice a day by oral gavage. Both esters had a significant therapeutic effect on the disease course and histology showed a strongly reduced macrophage inflammation in the spinal cord. Multiparameter cytokine analysis from blood detected an increase of IL-10 in the treated animals. We conclude that the underlying biological activity of FAE in EAE is complex and, to elucidate the molecular mechanisms, further investigation is needed.