Having recently described the injurious role of caspase-1-mediated production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-18 in ischemic acute renal failure (ARF), we report here on the effect of the newly developed caspase inhibitor Quinoline-Val-Asp(Ome)-CH(2)-OPH (OPH-001) on caspase-1, IL-18, neutrophil infiltration, and renal function in ischemic ARF. C57BL/6 mice with ischemic ARF treated with OPH-001 had a marked (100%) reduction in blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine and a highly significant reduction in morphological acute tubular necrosis (ATN) score compared with vehicle-treated mice. OPH-001 significantly reduced the increase in caspase-1 activity and IL-18 and prevented neutrophil infiltration in the kidney during ischemic ARF. To evaluate whether this lack of neutrophil infiltration was contributing to the protection against ischemic ARF, a model of neutrophil depletion was developed. Neutrophil-depleted mice had a small (18%) reduction in serum creatinine during ischemic ARF but no reduction in ATN score despite a lack of neutrophil infiltration in the kidney. Remarkably, caspase-1 activity and IL-18 were significantly increased in the kidney in neutrophil-depleted mice with ARF. In addition, IL-18 antiserum-treated neutrophil-depleted mice with ischemic ARF had a significant (75%) reduction in serum creatinine and a significant reduction in ATN score compared with vehicle-treated neutrophil-depleted mice. These results suggest a novel neutrophil-independent mechanism of IL-18-mediated ischemic ARF.