Siponimod Inhibits the Formation of Meningeal Ectopic Lymphoid Tissue in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Background and Objectives

To investigate whether the formation or retention of meningeal ectopic lymphoid tissue (mELT) can be inhibited by the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1,5 modulator siponimod (BAF312) in a murine model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods

A murine spontaneous chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, featuring meningeal inflammatory infiltrates resembling those in MS, was used. To prevent or treat EAE, siponimod was administered daily starting either before EAE onset or at peak of disease. The extent and cellular composition of mELT, the spinal cord parenchyma, and the spleen was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry.

Results

Siponimod, when applied before disease onset, ameliorated EAE. This effect was also present, although less prominent, when treatment started at peak of disease. Treatment with siponimod resulted in a strong reduction of the extent of mELT in both treatment paradigms. Both B and T cells were diminished in the meningeal compartment.

Discussion

Beneficial effects on the disease course correlated with a reduction in mELT, suggesting that inhibition of mELT may be an additional mechanism of action of siponimod in the treatment of EAE. Further studies are needed to establish causality and confirm this observation in MS.

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