The Caspase 1 Inhibitor VX-765 Protects the Isolated Rat Heart via the RISK Pathway


Protecting the heart from ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury is a major goal in patients presenting with an acute myocardial infarction. Pyroptosis is a novel form of cell death in which caspase 1 is activated and cleaves interleukin 1β. VX-785 is a highly selective, prodrug caspase 1 inhibitor that is also clinically available. It has been shown to be protective against acute IR in vivo rat model, and therefore might be a promising possibility for future cardioprotective therapy. However, it is not known whether protection by VX-765 involves the reperfusion injury salvage kinase (RISK) pathway. We therefore investigated whether VX-765 protects the isolated, perfused rat heart via the PI3K/Akt pathway and whether protection was additive with ischaemic preconditioning (IPC).


Langendorff-perfused rat hearts were subject to ischaemia and reperfusion injury in the presence of 30 μM VX-765, with precedent IPC, or the combination of VX-765 and IPC.


VX-765 reduced infarct size (28 vs 48% control; P < 0.05) to a similar extent as IPC (30%; P < 0.05). The PI3 kinase inhibitor, wortmannin, abolished the protective effect of VX-765. Importantly in the model used, we were unable to show additive protection with VX-765 + IPC.


The caspase 1 inhibitor, VX-765, was able to reduce myocardial infarction in a model of IR injury. However, the addition of IPC did not demonstrate any further protection.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information Publications Customer Product Validation
S2228 Belnacasan (VX-765) Belnacasan (VX-765) is a potent and selective inhibitor of caspase-1 with Ki of 0.8 nM in a cell-free assay. Phase 2. (61) (5)

Related Targets