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Research projects

Role of NLRP3 inflammasome and interleukin-1 (IL-1) in cardiovascular disease

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Karin H Franzén

Research subject

Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a central molecule in cardiovascular disease and is a pro-inflammatory cytokine important for the regulation of inflammatory response in atherosclerosis. IL-1β is activated upon assembly of the NLRP3 inflammasome and is also important for other diseases with inflammatory background, such as autoinflammatory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Earlier studies have shown that loss of IL-1β reduces the level of atherosclerosis in mice. In the CANTOS study (Riedker et al 2017) the antibody Canakinumab was administered to patients with myocardial infarction and placebo. Canakinumab is an antibody, which binds IL-1β and the results from the study showed that treatment with Canakinumab resulted in lower amount of events compared to placebo.

The aim of the project is to understand underlying mechanisms for the assembly of the NLRP3 inflammasome in vascular cells, but also to block IL-1β and it’s proinflammatory activities in vascular cells. We use novel strategies to reduce IL-1β levels in vascular cells together with academic and industrial partners. Development of novel target-specific therapies against IL-1β är an important way to reduce the amount of cardiovascular diseases in the future.

Research funding bodies

  • The Knowledge Foundation