Objective. - Mice with targeted deletion of caspase-1 (interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta)-converting enzyme) lack the active forms of IL-1beta and IL-18, two cytokines implicated in maladaptive ventricular remodeling following cardiac injury. We, therefore, investigated the extent of ventricular dilation in caspase-1-knockout (KO) mice. Methods and results. - Transthoracic echocardiography was performed at days 1, 4, and 9 following left anterior descending artery ligation in caspase-1-KO and wild-type (WT) control animals, including M-mode and short-axis imaging at both mid-papillary and apical levels. Although initial post-operative mortality was lower in KO than in WT animals (21.4% WT, 12.0% KO, P < 0.001), there was no difference in mortality between 24 h and 9 d (P = n.s.). Caspase-1 KOs exhibited significantly less mid-papillary ventricular dilatation at days 4 and 9 compared to day 1 post-myocardial infarction (MI) (P < 0.05). Caspase-1 KOs also had a marked (50%) reduction in the level of matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3), although no significant changes occurred in other MMPs or in tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 1 levels by immunoblot analysis. Although IL-beta plasma levels were not detectable, both IL-18 levels and the rate of apoptosis in remodeling, non-infarcted muscle were significantly higher in WT compared to caspase-1-KO animals.Conclusion. - Mice lacking caspase-1 exhibited both improved peri-infarct survival and a decreased rate of ventricular dilatation, possibly due in part to a decrease in MMP-3 activity, IL-18 production, and a reduction in the rate of apoptosis after experimental MI.