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A cytokine family of 9 genes making up a cytokine gene cluster at 2q14. These genes include IL1A, IL1B and IL1RN. In man interleukin-1 beta proprotein (biologically inactive) is released from activated macrophages and proteolytically processed by caspase 1 (CASP1/ICE) to its active form. This stimulates T-lymphocytes and antigen presenting cells. It also has effects on B-lymphocytes and haematopoeisis. If released into the blood it caused pyrexia.

It accordingly acts on

Human interleukin-1 alpha is produced in much smaller quantities. Its precursor is biologically active. It can also be processed to a biologically active cell surface membrane form involved in growth control. A nuclear receptor for IL-1α also seems to exist as well as a receptor on nerve cells that is more sensitive to IL-1β.

There are several different receptors which are activated by both IL-1s:

  1. Type 1 receptor (CD121a) coded by IL1R1
  2. Type 2 receptor (CD121b) coded by IL1R2

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein inhibits the activity of interleukin-1 by binding to the interleukin-1 receptor type 1.