News tagged with cytokines

Related topics: cells , white blood cells , immune system , immune cells

Researchers identify new target to treat psoriasis

Sanford-Burnham scientists have identified the B and T Lymphocyte Attenuator (BTLA) inhibitory receptor as a key factor in limiting inflammatory responses, particularly in the skin. The study, published online ...

Dec 05, 2013
popularity 5 / 5 (4) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Immunology: White blood cells show their stripes

For the human immune system to work effectively, the body must be able to distinguish invading pathogens, such as fungi and bacteria, from its own healthy tissue. A group of white blood cells known as dendritic ...

Aug 28, 2013
popularity 5 / 5 (2) | comments 0

Researchers discover new way to block inflammation

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a mechanism that triggers chronic inflammation in Alzheimer's, atherosclerosis and type-2 diabetes. The results, published today in Nature Immunology, suggest a comm ...

Jul 01, 2013
popularity 5 / 5 (6) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Roundworm quells obesity and related metabolic disorders

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, have shown in a mouse model that infection with nematodes (also known as roundworms) can not only combat obesity but ameliorate related metabolic disorders. ...

Apr 25, 2013
popularity 5 / 5 (3) | comments 1

Cytokine

Cytokines (Greek cyto-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are a category of signaling molecules that are used extensively in cellular communication. They are proteins, peptides, or glycoproteins. The term cytokine encompasses a large and diverse family of polypeptide regulators that are produced widely throughout the body by cells of diverse embryological origin.

Basically, the term "cytokine" has been used to refer to the immunomodulating agents (interleukins, interferons, etc.). Conflicting data exists about what is termed a cytokine and what is termed a hormone. Anatomic and structural distinctions between cytokines and classic hormones are fading as we learn more about each. Classic protein hormones circulate in nanomolar (10-9) concentrations that usually vary by less than one order of magnitude. In contrast, some cytokines (such as IL-6) circulate in picomolar (10-12) concentrations that can increase up to 1,000-fold during trauma or infection. The widespread distribution of cellular sources for cytokines may be a feature that differentiates them from hormones. Virtually all nucleated cells, but especially endo/epithelial cells and resident macrophages (many near the interface with the external environment) are potent producers of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α. In contrast, classic hormones, such as insulin, are secreted from discrete glands (e.g., the pancreas). As of 2008, the current terminology refers to cytokines as immunomodulating agents. However, more research is needed in this area of defining cytokines and hormones.

The action of cytokines may be autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine. Cytokines are critical to the development and functioning of both the innate and adaptive immune response, although not limited to just the immune system. They are often secreted by immune cells that have encountered a pathogen, thereby activating and recruiting further immune cells to increase the system's response to the pathogen. Cytokines are also involved in several developmental processes during embryogenesis.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA