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The sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator, fingolimod (FTY720), has been used for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, but atrioventricular (AV) conduction block have been reported in some patients after the first dose. The underlying mechanism of this AV node conduction blockade is still not well-understood. In this study, we hypothesize that expression of this particular arrhythmia might be related to a direct effect of FTY720 on AV node rather than a parasympathetic mimetic action. We, therefore, investigated the effect of FTY720 on AV nodal, using in vitro rat model preparation, under both basal as well as ischaemia/reperfusion conditions. We first look at the expression pattern of S1P receptors on the AV node using real-time PCR. Although all three S1P receptor isoforms were expressed in AVN tissues, S1P1 receptor isoform expression level was higher than S1P2 and S1P3. The effect of 25 nM FTY720 on cycle length (CL) was subsequently studied via extracellular potentials recordings. FTY720 caused a mild to moderate prolongation in CL by an average 9% in AVN (n = 10, P < 0.05) preparations. We also show that FTY720 attenuated both ischaemia and reperfusion induced AVN rhythmic disturbance. To our knowledge, these remarkable findings have not been previously reported in the literature, and stress the importance for extensive monitoring period in certain cases, especially in patients taking concurrently AV node blocker agents.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Mol Med

Publication Date





1729 - 1734


atrioventricular node, fingolimod, sphingosine-1-phosphate, Animals, Atrioventricular Node, Dissection, Fingolimod Hydrochloride, Gene Expression Regulation, Lysophospholipids, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Receptors, Lysosphingolipid, Reperfusion Injury, Sphingosine