Author(s): Nancy Rothwell
Interleukin-1 (IL-1) expression in the brain increases in response to acute and chronic insults, and IL-1 contributes directly to experimentally induced ischaemic, excitotoxic, and traumatic brain injury. Release and cleavage of active IL-1 beta may be achieved via purinergic P2X7 receptors and activation of caspase-1. The mechanisms of action of IL-1 are largely unknown, but may involve effects on glia, endothelia, and neurones, or on physical parameters within the brain such as temperature or acidity. The naturally occurring IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) is currently being considered for treatment of stroke and other disorders.