Cutting Edge: Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapies on SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine-Induced Immune Responses in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

J Immunol. 2022 Apr 1;208(7):1519-1524. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2101142. Epub 2022 Mar 14.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating inflammatory disease of the CNS treated by diverse disease-modifying therapies that suppress the immune system. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 mRNA vaccines have been very effective in immunocompetent individuals, but whether MS patients treated with modifying therapies are afforded the same protection is not known. This study determined that dimethyl fumarate caused a momentary reduction in anti-Spike (S)-specific Abs and CD8 T cell response. MS patients treated with B cell-depleting (anti-CD20) or sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor agonist (fingolimod) therapies lack significant S-specific Ab response. Whereas S-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses were largely compromised by fingolimod treatment, T cell responses were robustly generated in anti-CD20-treated MS patients, but with a reduced proportion of CD4+CXCR5+ circulating follicular Th cells. These data provide novel information regarding vaccine immune response in patients with autoimmunity useful to help improve vaccine effectiveness in these populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / drug therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • COVID-19 Vaccines