Human microglia, monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages ex vivo express relatively higher levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor 1 (S1P1) mRNA as compared to other receptor subtypes. The S1P agonist FTY720 decreased ERK phosphorylation and induced myosin light chain (MLC) II phosphorylation only in macrophages and DCs. FTY720 inhibited IL-12p70 production (CD40L induced) by DCs and macrophages but not microglia (poly IC induced). IL-10 production was increased in DCs and unaffected in other myeloid cells. Despite similar receptor expression patterns, the distinct myeloid cell populations present in the human CNS, under steady-state or inflammatory conditions, exhibit differential responses to FTY720.