The IL-1 Pathway in Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Complications

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Oct;26(10):551-563. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2015.08.001.


Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) exhibit chronic activation of the innate immune system in pancreatic islets, in insulin-sensitive tissues, and at sites of diabetic complications. This results from a pathological response to overnutrition and physical inactivity seen in genetically predisposed individuals. Processes mediated by the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1) link obesity and dyslipidemia and have implicated IL-1β in T2D and related cardiovascular complications. Epidemiological, molecular, and animal studies have now assigned a central role for IL-1β in driving tissue inflammation during metabolic stress. Proof-of-concept clinical studies have validated IL-1β as a target to improve insulin production and action in patients with T2D. Large ongoing clinical trials will address the potential of IL-1 antagonism to prevent cardiovascular and other related complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Interleukin-1