Examining the Role of and Treatment Directed at IL-1β in Atherosclerosis

  • Razi KhanEmail author
  • Eric Rheaume
  • Jean-Claude Tardif
Evidence-Based Medicine (L. Roever, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Evidence Based Medicine



The purpose of this review was to examine the role of IL-1β in the inflammatory process central to the development of atherosclerosis and to discuss current clinical evidence for treatments targeting IL-1β in coronary artery disease.

Recent Findings

IL-1β has been shown to modulate atherosclerotic plaque progression by upregulating the synthesis of adhesion molecules on endothelial cells, as well increasing activation and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Animal studies have further suggested that alterations in the balance between agonists and antagonists of IL-1β are important in promoting atherosclerosis. In humans, preliminary assessment of therapy targeting IL-1β noted early reductions in serum inflammatory biomarkers among those with systemic inflammatory or coronary artery disease. The CANTOS trial, a large randomized double-blind study found that canakinumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting IL-1β, reduced ischemic events in patients being treated for secondary prevention.


Cellular, animal, and now clinical studies have suggested a role for therapies aimed at IL-1β for treatment of CAD. However, given potential side effects and costs of these medications, further study is required to determine which patients may be most suited for treatment above current standard of care.


Interleukin-1β Atherosclerosis Coronary artery disease Inflammation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Razi Khan, Eric Rheaume, and Jean-Claude Tardif declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Columbian HospitalNew WestminsterCanada
  2. 2.Montreal Heart InstituteMontrealCanada

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