Interleukin-1: an important target for perinatal neuroprotection?

Sharmony B. Kelly, Elys Green, Rod W. Hunt, Claudia A. Nold-Petry, Alistair J. Gunn, Marcel F. Nold, Robert Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Perinatal inflammation is a significant risk factor for lifelong neurodevelopmental impairments such as cerebral palsy. Extensive clinical and preclinical evidence links the severity and pattern of perinatal inflammation to impaired maturation of white and grey matters and reduced brain growth. Multiple pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of perinatal inflammation. However, studies of human and experimental perinatal encephalopathy have demonstrated a strong causative link between perinatal encephalopathy and excessive production of the pro-inflammatory effector cytokine interleukin-1. In this review, we summarize clinical and preclinical evidence that underpins interleukin-1 as a critical factor in initiating and perpatuating systemic and central nervous system inflammation and subsequent perinatal brain injury. We also highlight the important role of endogenous interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in mitigating interleukin-1-driven neuroinflammation and tissue damage, and summarize outcomes from clinical and mechanistic animal studies that establish the commercially available interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, anakinra, as a safe and effective therapeutic intervention. We reflect on the evidence supporting clinical translation of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist for infants at the greatest risk of perinatal inflammation and impaired neurodevelopment, and suggest a path to advance interleukin-1 receptor antagonist along the translational path for perinatal neuroprotection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-50
Number of pages4
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • brain
  • inflammation
  • interleukin-1
  • interleukin-1 receptor antagonist
  • interleukin-1β
  • neonatal encephalopathy
  • neuroprotection
  • preterm brain injury

Cite this