Ischemic stroke is a devastating condition primarily caused by reduced blood supply to the brain. Interleukin (IL)-1β is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a pivotal role in the detrimental inflammatory processes that participate to cerebral ischemic damage. After injury, it is produced by distinct cells of the neurovascular unit as an inactive precursor, pro-IL-1β. Although previous studies have suggested that caspase-1 is the main enzyme implicated in the cleavage of pro-IL-1β into the biologically active cytokine, recent work has demonstrated that, under ischemia-reperfusion conditions, other mechanisms may be involved in cytokine maturation. Indeed, we have shown that in rats subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo), elevation of IL-1β levels is paralleled by an elevation of gelatinolytic, but not caspase-1 activity in the injured hemisphere and pharmacological inhibition of gelatinases, i.e. matrix metalloproteases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 prevents cytokine maturation. These findings further support the hypothesis that, under ischemia-reperfusion injury, cerebral elevation of IL-1β occurs via mechanisms other than caspase-1, likely involving gelatinases.