Last reviewed 01/2018
Interleukin-1, IL-1, is a glycoprotein cytokine first described in the 1940s. There are two subtypes: IL-1 alpha is intracellular and associated with antigen presentation; IL-1 beta is the main extracellular form.
IL-1 is intimately involved in immune responses and chronic inflammation. Excessive, persistent IL-1 release has been implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, cachexia and atherosclerosis.
It is produced in the following cells:
- mononuclear phagocytes: the major source
- antigen-presenting dendritic cells
- endothelial cells
- renal cells
Therapeutic administration of interleukin-1 e.g. as a cytotoxic agent, has largely been limited by side effects such as pyrexia.