Fingolimod as a Treatment in Neurologic Disorders Beyond Multiple Sclerosis

Drugs R D. 2020 Sep;20(3):197-207. doi: 10.1007/s40268-020-00316-1.


Fingolimod is an approved treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), and its properties in different pathways have raised interest in therapy research for other neurodegenerative diseases. Fingolimod is an agonist of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors. Its main pharmacologic effect is immunomodulation by lymphocyte homing, thereby reducing the numbers of T and B cells in circulation. Because of the ubiquitous expression of S1P receptors, other effects have also been described. Here, we review preclinical experiments evaluating the effects of treatment with fingolimod in neurodegenerative diseases other than MS, such as Alzheimer's disease or epilepsy. Fingolimod has shown neuroprotective effects in different animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, summarized here, correlating with increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor and improved disease phenotype (cognition and/or motor abilities). As expected, treatment also induced reductions in different neuroinflammatory markers because of not only inhibition of lymphocytes but also direct effects on astrocytes and microglia. Furthermore, fingolimod treatment exhibited additional effects for specific neurodegenerative disorders, such as reduction of amyloid-β production, and antiepileptogenic properties. The neuroprotective effects exerted by fingolimod in these preclinical studies are reviewed and support the translation of fingolimod into clinical trials as treatment in neurodegenerative diseases beyond neuroinflammatory conditions (MS).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride