Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Acute inflammation is a self-limiting, complex biological response mounted to combat pathogen invasion, to protect against tissue damage, and to promote tissue repair should it occur. However, unabated inflammation can be deleterious and contribute to injury and pathology. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), a prototypical “pro-inflammatory” cytokine, is essential to cellular defense and tissue repair in nearly all tissues. With respect to brain, however, studies suggest that IL-1β has pleiotrophic effects. It acts as a neuromodulator in the healthy central nervous system (CNS), has been implicated in the pathogenic processes associated with a number of CNS maladies, but may also provide protection to the injured CNS. Here, we will review the physiological and pathophysiological functions of IL-1β in the central nervous system with regard to synaptic plasticity. With respect to disease, emphasis will be placed on stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease where the ultimate injurious or reparative effects of IL-1β appear to depend on time, concentration and environmental milieu.


Eur J Neurodegener Dis. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 Jun 14. Published in final edited form as: Eur J Neurodegener Dis. 2012 Aug; 1(2): 195–211 PMCID: PMC4465544 NIHMSID: NIHMS696836