Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is a form of stroke that can occur spontaneously or as a result of head injury. Treatment options are limited, and few experimental models recapitulate the key features of the condition. Using a recently developed rat model that closely mimics human SAH, Greenhalgh et al. now show that blocking the IL-1 pathway using its endogenous receptor antagonist, IL-1Ra, lessens CNS pathology. They also show that haem, a breakdown product of haemoglobin derived from lysed erythrocytes in the subarachnoid space, drives IL-1 production and neuronal death. These results suggest that haem acts as a danger signal driving CNS inflammation, and that IL-1Ra – a therapy already approved for other indications – might be a promising treatment for SAH. Page 823
- Written by editorial staff. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and all further distributions of the work or adaptation are subject to the same Creative Commons License terms.