The balance between IL-1 and IL-1Ra in disease

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2002 Aug-Oct;13(4-5):323-40. doi: 10.1016/s1359-6101(02)00020-5.


IL-1 is an important mediator of inflammation and tissue damage in multiple organs, both in experimental animal models of disease and in human diseases. The IL-1 family consists of two agonists, IL-1alpha and IL-1beta, two receptors, biologically active IL-1RI and inert IL-1RII, and a specific receptor antagonist, IL-1Ra. The balance between IL-1 and IL-1Ra in local tissues plays an important role in the susceptibility to and severity of many diseases. An allelic polymorphism in the IL-1Ra gene has been associated with a variety of human diseases primarily of epithelial and endothelial cell origin. This association may be secondary to an imbalance in the IL-1 system with enhanced production of IL-1beta and reduced production of the major intracellular isoform of IL-1Ra. Treatment of RA with daily subcutaneous injections of recombinant IL-1Ra protein has been shown to be efficacious. Gene therapy approaches with IL-1Ra are being evaluated for the treatment of RA and other human diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Infections / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-1 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Isoforms / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1 / physiology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sialoglycoproteins / genetics
  • Sialoglycoproteins / physiology*
  • Sialoglycoproteins / therapeutic use


  • IL1RN protein, human
  • Il1rn protein, mouse
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-1
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sialoglycoproteins