- Both IL-1α and IL-1β are highly inflammatory cytokines mediating a wide spectrum of diseases. A recombinant form of the naturally occurring IL-1R antagonist (IL-1Ra), which blocks IL-1R1, is broadly used to treat autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases; however, blocking IL-1 increases the risk of infection. In this study, we describe the development of a novel form of recombinant IL-1Ra, termed chimeric IL-1Ra. This molecule is a fusion of the N-terminal peptide of IL-1β and IL-1Ra, resulting in inactive IL-1Ra. Because the IL-1β N-terminal peptide contains several protease sites clustered around the caspase-1 site, local proteases at sites of inflammation can cleave chimeric IL-1Ra and turn IL-1Ra active. We demonstrate that chimeric IL-1Ra reduces IL-1–mediated inflammation in vitro and in vivo. This unique approach limits IL-1 receptor blockade to sites of inflammation, while sparing a multitude of desired IL-1–related activities, including host defense against infections and IL-1–mediated repair.