Endogenous interleukin-1 receptor antagonist is neuroprotective

Sarah A. Loddick, Ma-Li Wong, Peter B. Bongiorno, Philip W. Gold, Julio Licinio, Nancy J. Rothwell

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Interleukin-1 (IL-1) has been implicated in chronic and acute cerebral neuropathologies. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), a naturally occurring protein that binds to IL-1 receptors without inducing signal transduction, blocks several actions of IL-1. IL-1ra acts at the local level and it also circulates in the bloodstream. We now report evidence for a biological function of IL-1ra in the brain as an endogenous neuroprotective molecule. Cerebral expression of IL-1ra mRNA is induced rapidly by focal cerebral ischemia in rats, and inhibition of the action of IL-1ra, by passive immuno-neutralization, markedly enhances ischemic damage. To our knowledge this is the first report of an action of endogenous IL-1ra in the brain. Control of IL-1ra expression or action may therefore provide a useful therapeutic strategy to limit acute neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-215
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 8 May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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