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Eur Cytokine Netw. 2002 Jan-Mar;13(1):55-65.

Different patterns of interleukin-1alpha and interleukin-1beta expression in organs of normal young and old mice.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel.


The different physiological roles of interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) are not well understood, especially when considering the apparent overlap and redundancy of the two IL-1 molecules. Characterization of IL-1alpha and IL-1beta expression was performed in this study in organs from young and old mice, using immunohistochemistry and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). The results indicate that organ IL-1alpha and IL-1beta display different patterns of expression: IL-1alpha is manifested more prominently in lymphoreticular organs (lungs, small intestine, spleen, liver), while IL-1beta is more evident in highly specialized and more vulnerable organs, which do not play a leading role in defense against infections and intoxication (heart, brain, skeletal muscle, kidney). This differential expression is more accentuated in old mice, possibly pointing to the special relevance of these cytokines to organ homeostasis in old age. These findings may shed new light on the physiological functions of IL-1alpha and IL-1beta, and may also lead to the development of improved therapeutic approaches, based on the specific manipulation of these cytokines.

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