The Ras antagonist, farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS), inhibits experimentally-induced fiver cirrhosis in rats

Shimon Reif, Boaz Weis, Hussein Aeed, Mali Gana-Weis, Liliana Zaidel, Yona Avni, Roberto G. Romanelli, Massimo Pinzani, Yoel Kloog, Rafael Bruck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Protooncogenes may play an important role, not only in carcinogenesis, but also in the regulation of normal cellular proliferation and differentiation. Several studies have indicated increased expression of the Ras protooncogenes in the liver in animal models and in patients with liver cirrhosis. The aim of the present study was to examine whether a synthetic Ras antagonist, S-farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS), which specifically dislodges Ras from the membrane of Ras-transformed fibroblasts (EJ cells), can prevent experimentally-induced liver cirrhosis in rats. Methods: Cirrhosis was induced in male Wistar rats by intraperitoneal administration of thioacetamide (200 mg/kg twice weekly for 12 weeks). The Ras antagonist, farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS, 5 mg/kg), was administered during the study period 3 times a week. Ras expression in the liver was determined by Western blot analysis with pan anti-Ras antibodies and by immunohistochemistry. Results: Rats treated with thioacetamide and the Ras antagonist, farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS), for 12 weeks had lower histopathologic scores of fibrosis and inflammation (p-values of 0.003 and 0.008, respectively) than those treated with thioacetamide only. There were no differences between the histopathologic scores in vehicle (control) and in Ras-antagonist (FTS) only treatments. Analysis of hepatic hydroxyproline levels from the two thioacetamide-treated groups and controls confirmed the histopathologic scores (7.7±0.9 mg/g protein in the TAA-treated vs. 3.8±0.5 mg/g protein in the TAA+FTS treated group, p=0.007). Ras levels, determined by Western blot analysis, were markedly increased in the livers treated with TAA (17-fold over control) and significantly decreased (by about 70%) in the livers of rats treated with TAA and FTS. Studies in isolated human hepatic stellate cells demonstrated that FTS inhibited both DNA synthesis and migration of those cells (p<0.05). Conclusion: These results indicate that inhibition of Ras expression in the liver during fibrogenesis, prevents the development of experimentally-induced hepatic cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1061
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Extracellular matrix
  • FTS
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Ras
  • Thioacetamide


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