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Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is the name given to a family of related proteins showing a variety of activities. It was originally shown to be produced by monocytes and macrophages but is now known to be produced by numerous cell types, including synovial cells. From the point of view of arthritis, its most interesting activities are those on connective tissue cells in vitro. These include stimulation of production of prostaglandins, plasminogen activator and metalloproteinases such as collagenase and proteoglycanase. IL-1 is also mitogenic for synoviocytes and bone cells, and can alter rates of production of extracellular matrix constituents. The presence of IL-1 in synovial fluids from rheumatoid and osteoarthritic joints and its actions on connective tissues in vitro suggest that IL-1 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of arthritis. There are several potential cellular sources of IL-1 in the inflamed rheumatoid joint and interactions between these cells, T lymphocytes and plasma cells may continually induce IL-1 so contributing to the chronicity of the disease. The mechanism of action of IL-1 on connective tissue cells is at present uncertain though preliminary studies suggest that IL-1 may induce cellular responses by stimulating phosphoinositide turnover and possibly protein kinase C activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Agents actions suppl

Publication Date





131 - 152


Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Cell Cycle, Connective Tissue, Free Radicals, Humans, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-1beta, Monokines, Osteoarthritis, Proteins, Synovial Membrane