A Systematic Review of Interleukin (IL) -1β in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence from Human and Animal Studies

Aysha Waheed, Bethan Dalton, Ulrich Wesemann, Mohammad A A Ibrahim, Hubertus Himmerich

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, have been implicated as underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and potential biomarkers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This systematic review examines data regarding IL-1β production/concentration in human and animal studies of PTSD. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, relevant articles from PubMed were reviewed from inception until July 10, 2017. Nineteen studies were eligible for inclusion. Animal studies demonstrated increased hippocampal IL-1β in rodent models of PTSD. Several immunomodulatory drugs were shown to reduce elevated IL-1β levels and anxiety-like behaviors in animals. Human cross-sectional studies showed contradictory results; serum and plasma IL-1β concentrations in PTSD patients were either elevated or did not differ from control groups. In vitro IL-1β production by stimulated cells demonstrated no difference between PTSD and control participants, although spontaneous in vitro production of IL-1β was increased in the PTSD group. The findings from 2 longitudinal studies were inconsistent. Given the conflicting findings, it is premature to consider IL-1β as a biomarker of PTSD. Anti-inflammatory agents may reduce IL-1β, and be a potential basis for future therapeutic agents in PTSD treatment. More longitudinal research is needed to better understand the role of IL-1β in the development and/or maintenance of PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number1
Early online dateJan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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