Cytokines have emerged as molecules that are of great importance for regulating many immune processes in the cell. Because they can now be accurately measured, the identification of cytokines is becoming increasingly important for understanding physiological and pathological processes.
Interleukin 1 (IL-1) is essentially a family of proteins, which includes IL-1a, IL-1b, IL-1RA (interleukin 1 receptor antagonist), IL-18, and IL-33.
IL-1a is synthesized as a pro-cytokine with a molecular weight of 33 kDa (271 amino acids) which is then enzymatically cleaved to its active form with a molecular weight of 17 kDa (159 amino acids). IL-1a is produced by many cell types including macrophages, monocytes, astrocytes, keratinocytes, adipocytes, T cells, fibroblasts, epithelial and endothelial cells, and eosinophils. Although IL-1a and IL-1b show only 27% homology to their amino acids, they bind to the same cellular receptors, IL-1 RI (CD121a, mainly in T cells), and IL-1 RII (CD121b, mainly in B-lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages), which are found in a variety of cells involved in immune or inflammatory reactions. Normal production of IL-1 is critical for mediating the body's responses to infections and injuries.
The presence of IL-1a has been demonstrated in various biological fluids such as blood serum, synovial fluid, gingival fluid, amniotic fluid, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), urine, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
Illnesses in which IL-1 is actively involved include inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, septic shock, as well as atherosclerosis, allergies, and some cancers.
Elevated serum IL-1a levels have been found in patients with total hip replacement/arthroplasty, in patients with recent insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, in cases of several cancers, such as head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, acute viral hepatitis, and septic shock. Elevated levels of IL-1a in both serum and synovial fluid have been found in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Increased IL-1a is an indicator for dental diseases such as dental pulp and root canal infections.
Some pulmonary disorders are accompanied by elevated levels of IL-1a in plasma and BAL, such as cystic fibrosis and systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Elevated plasma IL-1a and CSF levels have been found in patients with schizophrenia. The high concentration of IL-1a in the cervical mucus of pregnant women is believed to belong to the local defense mechanism against infections. IL-1a levels in the blood of newborn infants with systemic infection during the neonatal period are significantly higher than in normal infants. IL-1a levels in the urine of patients with bladder cancer are associated with disease progression and response to treatment.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.