The IL-1 family of cytokines that interact with the Type 1 IL-1R include IL-1α (IL1A), IL-1β (IL1B) and the IL-1 receptor antagonist protein (IL1RAP). IL1RAP is synthesized with a signal peptide and secreted as a mature protein via the classical secretory pathway. IL1A and IL1B are synthesised as cytoplasmic precursors (pro-IL1A and pro-IL1B) in activated cells. They have no signal sequence, precluding secretion via the classical ER-Golgi route (Rubartelli et al. 1990). Processing of pro-IL1B to the active form requires caspase-1 (Thornberry et al. 1992), which is itself activated by a molecular scaffold termed the inflammasome (Martinon et al. 2002). Processing and release of IL1B are thought to be closely linked, because mature IL1B is only seen inside inflammatory cells just prior to release (Brough et al. 2003). It has been reported that in monocytes a fraction of cellular IL1B is released by the regulated secretion of late endosomes and early lysosomes, and that this may represent a cellular compartment where caspase-1 processing of pro-IL1B takes place (Andrei et al. 1999). Shedding of microvesicles from the plasma membrane has also been proposed as a mechanism of secretion (MacKenzie et al. 2001). These proposals superceded previous models in which non-specific release due to cell lysis and passage through a plasma membrane pore were considered. However, there is evidence in the literature that supports all of these mechanisms and there is still controversy over how IL1B exits from cells (Brough & Rothwell 2007). A calpain-like potease has been reported to be important for the processing of pro-IL1A, but much less is known about how IL1A is released from cells and what specific roles it plays in biology.