Interleukin-1 and stroke: Biomarker, harbinger of damage, and therapeutic target

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Inflammation is established as a contributor to cerebrovascular disease. Risk factors for stroke include many conditions associated with chronic or acute inflammation, and inflammatory changes in the brain after cerebrovascular events contribute to outcome in experimental studies, with growing evidence from clinical research. The brain is extremely susceptible to inflammatory challenge, but resident glia, endothelial cells and neurones can all mount a pronounced inflammatory response to infection or injury. Recent discoveries highlight the importance of peripherally-derived immune cells and inflammatory molecules in various central nervous system disorders, including stroke. The inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1 (IL-1), plays a pivotal role in both local and systemic inflammation, and is a key driver of peripheral and central immune responses to infection or injury. Inhibition of IL-1 has beneficial effects in a variety of experimental paradigms of acute brain injury and is a promising clinical target in stroke. We propose that blockade of IL-1 could be therapeutically useful in several diseases which are risk factors for stroke, and there is already considerable pre-clinical and clinical evidence that inhibition of IL-1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist may be valuable in the management of acute stroke. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-527
Number of pages10
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • IL-1Ra
  • Interleukin-1


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