Immunologic mechanisms of fingolimod and the role of immunosenescence in the risk of cryptococcal infection: A case report and review of literature

Elena Grebenciucova, Anthony T. Reder, Jacqueline Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Background Fingolimod is a disease-modifying agent used in the treatment of relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. In MS clinical studies, the overall rate of infections in fingolimod group was overall similar to placebo, except for slightly more common lower respiratory tract infections and to a lesser extent HSV. Recently, an increasing number of cryptococcal infections associated with a long-term use of this medication have been reported. Methods We reviewed literature for cases of cryptococcal infection associated with the use of fingolimod and reported a case at our institution, as well as carefully evaluated the established immune mechanisms of the medication and discussed new insights into its short-term and long-term immunologic effects that may become important in the context of risk of infection. Results Unique characteristics of cryptococcal pathogen, its immune escape mechanisms, its ability to establish a latent infection with a potential for later reactivation, fingolimod's effects on many lines of immune system, both quantitatively and qualitatively, duration of therapy, and long-term effects of fingolimod, not previously described, in conjunction with effects of natural immunosenescence of the patient population, that appears to be most at risk, may be meaningful in further understanding the risk of infection with long-term use of fingolimod in people of older age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-162
Number of pages5
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Cryptococcal infection
  • Cryptococcal meningitis
  • Cryptococcus
  • Fingolimod
  • Immunosenescence
  • Ms therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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