Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Interleukins, -1 (IL-1), -6 (IL-6), -18 (IL-18)

  • Nicolas Rohleder
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_26



Interleukins (IL) are chemical messenger molecules of the immune system, and therefore fall into the category of cytokines. The term “interleukin” denotes their primarily ascribed function, i.e., the communication between (inter) white blood cells (leukocytes). IL-1, IL-6, and IL-18 are pro-inflammatory cytokines due to their predominant function to stimulate inflammatory processes in target cells.

Interleukin-1 is one of the first discovered cytokines, and consists of a family of three different molecules: IL-1alpha and IL-1beta exert their actions through binding to different members of the IL-1 receptor family, while the third molecule IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) blocks these effects. The IL-1 family of cytokines was first cloned in 1984 (for a summary,...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA