The Ras-pathway inhibitor, S-trans-trans-farnesylthiosalicylic acid, suppresses experimental allergic encephalomyelitis

D. Karussis*, O. Abramsky, N. Grigoriadis, J. Chapman, R. Mizrachi-Koll, H. Niv, Y. Kloog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To evaluate the effects of the synthetic Ras-pathway inhibitor, S-trans-trans-farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS) on acute and chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE and CR-EAE). Background: Treatment of EAE and MS is based on immunosuppression aiming at downregulation of the proliferating myelin-reactive lymphocytes. One of the pathways of lymphocyte activation involves the GTP-binding protein Ras. FTS destabilizes the attachment of Ras to the cell membrane, resulting in an inhibition of the Ras-mediated signal transduction pathways. Materials and methods: EAE was induced in SJL/J mice by immunization with spinal cord homogenate (MSCH) in adjuvant and two i.v. boosts of pertussis antigen and CR-EAE with passive transfer of proteolipid protein (PLP)-activated lymphocytes. Animals were treated daily starting either from the day of EAE-induction (or cell transfer) or at a later stage, with i.p. injections of FTS (5 mg/kg/day). The clinical severity of the disease was evaluated daily and scored using a 0-6 scale. Results: In six separate experiments, 27 of the 38 (71.7%) vehicle-treated animals developed clinical signs of EAE compared to 17/38 (44.7%) of the FTS-treated mice (p = 0.02, t-test). The maximal average score in the control group was 2.94 ± 2.2, whereas in the FTS group it was significantly lower (1.63 ± 2.2, p = 0.01). Mortality was 26.3% and 10.5% in the two groups, respectively (p = 0.03). When treatment was initiated at a later stage, just before the onset of the clinical signs, the protective effect was even more pronounced. A significant suppression of clinical signs was also observed in the CR-EAE model (p = 0.02). Lymphocyte proliferation assays demonstrated a more than twofold decrease in the reactivity to myelin antigens (MBP and PLP) and downregulation of the activated lymphocytes (expressing the CD62L, and IA-k-MHC Class I markers and the Vb17 T-cell receptor) in the FTS-treated group; in vitro FTS suppressed the Ras activity of lymphocytes and inhibited the proliferative ability of the lymphocytes in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusions: FTS suppresses EAE by downregulation of myelin-reactive activated T-lymphocytes. Since FTS did not induce generalized immunosuppressive effects, it may offer significant advantages over the broad immunosuppressive modalities and may be a candidate treatment for autoimmune diseases, such as MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001


  • EAE
  • FTS
  • Immunomodulation
  • Immunosuppression
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Ras
  • Treatment


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