Caspase-1 is a proinflammatory caspase responsible for the proteolytic conversion of the precursor forms of interleukin-1β to its active form and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases. It was reported that genetic deficiency of caspase-1 prevented cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. However, whether pharmacological inhibition of caspase-1 also has a preventive effect against cisplatin-induced kidney injury has not been evaluated. In this study, we examined the effect of Ac-YVAD-cmk, a potent caspase-1-specific inhibitor, on renal function and histology in cisplatin-treated mice and explored its underlying mechanisms. We found that administration of Ac-YVAD-cmk effectively attenuated cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction, as evidenced by reduced plasma levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, and histological abnormalities, such as tubular cell death, dilatation, and cast formation. Administration of Ac-YVAD-cmk inhibited caspase-3 activation as well as caspase-1 activation and attenuated apoptotic cell death, as assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling, in the kidneys of cisplatin-treated mice. Cisplatin-induced G2/M arrest of renal tubular cells was also reduced by caspase-1 inhibition. In addition, administration of Ac-YVAD-cmk reversed increased oxidative stress and depleted antioxidant capacity after cisplatin treatment. Moreover, increased macrophage accumulation and elevated expression of cytokines and chemokines were attenuated by caspase-1 inhibition. Taken together, these results suggest that caspase-1 inhibition by Ac-YVAD-cmk protects against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity through inhibition of renal tubular cell apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammatory responses. Our findings support the idea that caspase-1 may be a promising pharmacological target for the prevention of cisplatin-induced kidney injury.
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© 2018 Jung-Yeon Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.