IL-1 blockade in autoinflammatory syndromes

Annu Rev Med. 2014:65:223-44. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-061512-150641.


Monogenic autoinflammatory syndromes present with excessive systemic inflammation including fever, rashes, arthritis, and organ-specific inflammation and are caused by defects in single genes encoding proteins that regulate innate inflammatory pathways. Pathogenic variants in two interleukin-1 (IL-1)-regulating genes, NLRP3 and IL1RN, cause two severe and early-onset autoinflammatory syndromes, CAPS (cryopyrin associated periodic syndromes) and DIRA (deficiency of IL-1 receptor antagonist). The discovery of the mutations that cause CAPS and DIRA led to clinical and basic research that uncovered the key role of IL-1 in an extended spectrum of immune dysregulatory conditions. NLRP3 encodes cryopyrin, an intracellular "molecular sensor" that forms a multimolecular platform, the NLRP3 inflammasome, which links "danger recognition" to the activation of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β. The success and safety profile of drugs targeting IL -1 in the treatment of CAPS and DIRA have encouraged their wider use in other autoinflammatory syndromes including the classic hereditary periodic fever syndromes (familial Mediterranean fever, TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome, and hyperimmunoglobulinemia D with periodic fever syndrome) and additional immune dysregulatory conditions that are not genetically well defined, including Still's, Behcet's, and Schnitzler diseases. The fact that the accumulation of metabolic substrates such as monosodium urate, ceramide, cholesterol, and glucose can trigger the NLRP3 inflammasome connects metabolic stress to IL-1β-mediated inflammation and provides a rationale for therapeutically targeting IL-1 in prevalent diseases such as gout, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Hereditary Autoinflammatory Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Hereditary Autoinflammatory Diseases / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / genetics
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / therapeutic use*
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Carrier Proteins
  • IL1RN protein, human
  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-1
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • canakinumab
  • rilonacept