OBJECTIVES: To study the effect of a lack of antioxidant defenses during lethal pneumonia induced by Klebsiella pneumonia, compared to wild-type mice. SETTING: Laboratory experiments. SUBJECTS: C57Bl6 and glutathione peroxidase 1 knockout mice. INTERVENTION: Murine acute pneumonia model induced by Klebsiella pneumonia. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We show here that despite a lack of one of the major antioxidant defense enzymes, glutathione peroxidase 1 knockout mice are protected during lethal pneumonia induced by Klebsiella pneumonia, compared to wild-type mice. Furthermore, this protective effect was suppressed when antioxidant defenses were restored. Infected glutathione peroxidase 1 mice showed an early and significant, albeit transient, increase in the activity of the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome when compared with wild-type mice. The key role of the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome during acute pneumonia was confirmed in vivo when the protective effect was suppressed by treating glutathione peroxidase 1 mice with an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist. Additionally we report, in vitro, that increased concentrations of active caspase-1 and interleukin-1beta are related to an increased concentration of hydrogen peroxide in bacterially infected glutathione peroxidase 1 macrophages and that restoring hydrogen peroxide antioxidant defenses suppressed this effect. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that, contrary to current thinking, an early intervention targeting NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome activity induces a timely and efficient activation of the innate immune response during acute infection. Our findings also demonstrate a role for hydrogen peroxide in the mechanisms tightly regulating NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 activation.