Role of interleukin-1beta during pain and inflammation

Brain Res Rev. 2009 Apr;60(1):57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2008.12.020. Epub 2008 Dec 31.


The cytokine cascade in pain and inflammatory processes is a tremendously complex system, involving glial, immune, and neuronal cell interactions. IL-1beta is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in pain, inflammation and autoimmune conditions. This review will focus on studies that shed light on the critical role of IL-1beta in various pain states, including the role of the intracellular complex, the inflammasome, which regulates IL-1beta production. Evidence will be presented demonstrating the importance of IL-1beta in both the induction of pain and in the maintenance of pain in chronic states, such as after nerve injury. Additionally, the involvement of IL-1beta as a key mediator in the interaction between glia and neurons in pain states will be discussed. Taken together, the evidence presented in the current review showing the importance of IL-1beta in animal and human pain states, suggests that blockade of IL-1beta be considered as a therapeutic opportunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism*
  • Nervous System / immunology*
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Neuroglia / immunology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pain / immunology*
  • Pain / metabolism
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate