Low doses of the novel caspase-inhibitor GS-9450 leads to lower caspase-3 and -8 expression on peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells

Department of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Heidelberglaan, GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Apoptosis (Impact Factor: 3.69). 06/2011; 16(9):959-66. DOI: 10.1007/s10495-011-0620-2
Source: PubMed


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is characterized by increased rates of apoptotic hepatocytes and activated caspases have been shown in HCV-infected patients. GS-9450, a novel caspase-inhibitor has demonstrated hepatoprotective activity in fibrosis/apoptosis animal models. This study evaluated the effects of GS-9450 on peripheral T-cell apoptosis in chronic HCV-infected patients. As sub study of the GS-US-227-0102, a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2a trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of GS-9450, apoptosis of peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells was measured using activated caspase-3, activated caspase-8 and CD95 (Fas). Blood samples were drawn at baseline, day 14 after therapy and at 5 weeks off-treatment follow-up in the first cohort of 10 mg. In contrast to the placebo-treated patients, GS-9450 caused a median of 46% decrease in ALT-values from baseline to day 14 in all treated patients (median of 118-64 U/l) rising again to a median of 140 U/l (19%) at 5 weeks off-treatment follow-up. In GS9450-treated patients, during treatment and follow-up, percentages of activated caspase-3+ and caspase-8 expression tended to decrease, in contrast to placebo-treated patients. Interestingly, compared to healthy controls, higher percentages of caspase-3 and caspase-8 positive CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells were demonstrated in HCV-infected patients at baseline. Decreased ALT-values were observed in all HCV-infected patients during treatment with low dose of the caspase-inhibitor GS-9450 accompanied by a lower expression of caspase-3 and -8 on peripheral T-cells. Furthermore, at baseline percentages of activated caspase-3, activated caspase-8 and CD95+ T-cells were higher in chronic HCV-infected patients compared to healthy controls.

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