Minimally-invasive Sampling of Interleukin-1α and Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist from the Skin: A Systematic Review of In vivo Studies in Humans

Acta Derm Venereol. 2017 Oct 2;97(9):1066-1073. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2709.


Interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and its receptor antagonist IL-1RA play a pivotal role in skin homeostasis and disease. Although the use of biopsies to sample these cytokines from human skin is widely employed in dermatological practice, knowledge about less invasive, in vivo sampling methods is scarce. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of such methods by systematically reviewing studies in Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Library using combinations of the terms "IL-1α", IL-1RA", "skin", "human", including all possible synonyms. Quality was assessed using the STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist. The search, performed on 14 October 2016, revealed 10 different sampling methods, with varying degrees of invasiveness and wide application spectrum, including assessment of both normal and diseased skin, from several body sites. The possibility to sample quantifiable amounts of cytokines from human skin with no or minimal discomfort holds promise for linking clinical outcomes to molecular profiles of skin inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / isolation & purification*
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1alpha / isolation & purification*
  • Interleukin-1alpha / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-1alpha