Caspase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Hepatitis C

Howard C. Masuoka, Maria Eugenia Guicciardi, Gregory J. Gores

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Decreasing hepatocyte injury and death is an attractive therapeutic target in chronic hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Apoptotic cell death is a critical mechanism responsible for liver injury in hepatitis C, and contributes to hepatic fibrogenesis. At the cellular level, apoptosis is executed by a family of cysteine proteases termed caspases. Caspase inhibitors have been developed to inhibit these proteases and attenuate cellular apoptosis in vivo. By reducing hepatocyte apoptosis these agents have the potential to serve as hepatoprotective agents, minimizing liver injury and fibrosis. Studies on a variety of animal models, and time-limited studies in human patients with hepatitis C suggest these are promising therapeutic agents. However, although these agents hold promise, their usefulness requires further studies, especially longer duration studies using hepatic fibrogenesis as the end point before they can be considered further for the treatment of patients infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalClinics in liver disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Caspase inhibitors
  • Death receptors
  • Hepatic fibrogenesis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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