Small molecule halts preterm birth in mice

Inflammation is associated with preterm birth, so researchers developed a small molecule that inhibits the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1 which is effective in a mouse model.

A small-molecule allosteric modulator of IL-1, termed rytvela or 101.10 was effective at delaying inflammation-induced preterm birth in mice. In the image, a doctor holds the hand of a pre-term baby in an incubator

Complications arising from preterm birth are a leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. Inflammation is strongly associated with preterm birth and the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1 is implicated and, therefore, a therapeutic target. However, inhibitors of IL-1 are relatively ineffective at delaying labour and can cause serious side effects.

Taking a different approach, researchers at the CHU Sainte-Justine research centre at the University of Montreal in Quebec developed a small-molecule allosteric modulator of IL-1, termed rytvela or 101.10. When given to mice, the molecule halted inflammation-induced preterm birth and was shown to decrease expression of proinflammatory genes in myometrial tissue and circulating leukocytes.

Selective inhibition of IL-1 receptor signalling therefore represents a novel strategy to prevent some causes of preterm birth, the researchers write in The Journal of Immunology on 24 August 2015[1]


[1] Nadeau-Vallée M, Quinio u C, Palacios J et al. Novel noncompetitive IL-1 receptor-biased ligand prevents infection- and inflammation-induced p reterm birth. J Immunol  2015. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1500758.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 19 September 2015, Vol 295, No 7880;295(7880):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069357

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