Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a key mediator in the cytokine network, controlling important functions in the immune system, during development, infection, inflammation, cell-differentiation, tissue remodelling, and even cell death. The agonistic isoforms of IL-1 (i.e., IL-1α and IL-1β), the IL-1 receptor antagonists, the receptors and receptor-associated proteins, as well as the recently identified IL-18 and its receptor belong to the IL-1 family of proteins. Activation of the IL-1β and IL-18 precursors is performed enzymatically by caspase-1, previously termed IL-1β-converting enzyme (ICE). This molecule is the founding member of the caspase family of enzymes, which are involved in maturation of cytokines and in initiation and execution of apoptotic processes. It has been suggested that cytokines and apoptosis are involved in pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, chronic heart failure, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, or stroke. Since IL-1, like TNF, is a central mediator in the cytokine network, it may act as a potent activator of cardiovascular cells. We know that cells of the vessel wall and the heart can produce IL-1 and respond to this mediator by production of other cytokines or regulation of other cardiovascular cell functions. Thus, this report summarizes general information about the molecules of the IL-1 family of proteins, including the caspases, as well as data regarding these proteins in relation to the vessel wall and the heart and their role in cardiovascular disease in adults and children. The summarized information indicates a role of these molecules in regulation of local inflammatory responses during cardiovascular disease.