The Two Sides of Siponimod: Evidence for Brain and Immune Mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis

CNS Drugs. 2022 Jul;36(7):703-719. doi: 10.1007/s40263-022-00927-z. Epub 2022 Jun 20.


Siponimod is a selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 (S1P1) and 5 (S1P5) modulator approved in the United States and the European Union as an oral treatment for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), including active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). Preclinical and clinical studies provide support for a dual mechanism of action of siponimod, targeting peripherally mediated inflammation and exerting direct central effects. As an S1P1 receptor modulator, siponimod reduces lymphocyte egress from lymph nodes, thus inhibiting their migration from the periphery to the central nervous system. As a result of its peripheral immunomodulatory effects, siponimod reduces both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesion (gadolinium-enhancing and new/enlarging T2 hyperintense) and relapse activity compared with placebo. Independent of these effects, siponimod can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and, by binding to S1P1 and S1P5 receptors on a variety of brain cells, including astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, neurons, and microglia, exert effects to modulate neural inflammation and neurodegeneration. Clinical data in patients with SPMS have shown that, compared with placebo, siponimod treatment is associated with reductions in levels of neurofilament light chain (a marker of neuroaxonal damage) and thalamic and cortical gray matter atrophy, with smaller reductions in MRI magnetization transfer ratio and reduced confirmed disability progression. This review examines the preclinical and clinical data supporting the dual mechanism of action of siponimod in RMS.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azetidines
  • Benzyl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive* / drug therapy
  • Recurrence


  • Azetidines
  • Benzyl Compounds
  • siponimod