The 2-lysophosphatidylcholine analog edelfosine induces apoptosis in highly proliferating cells, e.g. activated immune cells. We examined mechanisms of action of edelfosine on immune functions in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a well-accepted animal model for multiple sclerosis. We observed activated caspase-3 expression in lymphoid organs and the central nervous system; however, edelfosine did not induce global apoptosis. Edelfosine improved the disease course and led to reduced frequencies of CD4(+) T cells infiltrating into the central nervous system. Our data suggest edelfosine as an interesting treatment candidate for multiple sclerosis.