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Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a prolonged immune- mediated inflammatory response that targets myelin. Nearly all of the drugs approved for the treatment of MS are general immunosuppressants or only function in symptom management. The oral medication fingolimod, however, is reported to have direct therapeutic effects on cells of the central nervous system in addition to immunomodulatory functions. Fingolimod is known to interact with sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors, and the most widely- accepted theory for its mechanism of action is functional antagonism of the receptor. This review examines significant neuromodulatory effects achieved by functional antagonism of the receptors S1P1 and S1P3 on astrocytes and speculates on the potential role of S1P receptors in the pathogenesis of MS.