Caspase-1 Inhibition Attenuates Hyperoxia-induced Lung and Brain Injury in Neonatal Mice

Fredrick Dapaah-Siakwan, Ronald Zambrano, Shihua Luo, Matthew R. Duncan, Nadine Kerr, Keyur Donda, Juan Pablo De Rivero Vaccari, Robert W. Keane, W. Dalton Dietrich, Merline Benny, Karen Young, Shu Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hyperoxia plays a key role in the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic lung disease of preterm infants. Infants with BPD often have brain injury that leads to long-term neurodevelopmental impairment, but the underlying mechanisms that control BPD-induced neurodevelopmental impairment remain unclear. Our previous studies have shown that hyperoxia-induced BPD in rodents is associated with lung inflammasome activation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that hyperoxia-induced lung and brain injury is mediated by inflammasome activation, and that inhibition of caspase-1, a key component of the inflammasome, attenuates hyperoxia-induced lung and brain injury in neonatal mice. C57/BL6 mouse pups were randomized to receive daily intraperitoneal injections of Ac-YVAD-CMK, an irreversible caspase-1 inhibitor, or placebo during exposure to room air or hyperoxia (85% O2) for 10 days. We found that hyperoxia activated the NLRP1 inflammasome, increased production of mature IL-1b, and upregulated expression of p30 gasdermin-D (GSDMD), the active form of GSDMD that is responsible for the programmed cell death mechanism of pyroptosis in both lung and brain tissue. Importantly, we show that inhibition of caspase-1 decreased IL-1b activation and p30 GSDMD expression, and improved alveolar and vascular development in hyperoxia-exposed lungs. Moreover, caspase-1 inhibition also promoted cell proliferation in the subgranular zone and subventricular zone of hyperoxia-exposed brains, resulting in lessened atrophy of these zones. Thus, the inflammasome plays a critical role in hyperoxia-induced neonatal lung and brain injury, and targeting this pathway may be beneficial for the prevention of lung and brain injury in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-354
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Brain
  • Caspase-1
  • Hyperoxia
  • Inflammasome
  • Neonatal lung

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Caspase-1 Inhibition Attenuates Hyperoxia-induced Lung and Brain Injury in Neonatal Mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this