Cytokines and Inflammatory Response

Cytokines are small molecule proteins/polypeptides secreted by the glial cells and by cells of the immune system. They are signaling molecules and are used extensively in intercellular communication.

Cytokines function by binding to their specific receptors localized on cell membrane. The effect of a particular cytokine on a given cell depends on the cytokine, its extracellular abundance, the presence and abundance of the complementary receptor on the cell surface, and downstream signals activated by receptor binding; these last two factors can vary by cell type. Cytokines are characterized by their considerable "redundancy", because many cytokines appear to share similar functions.

Inflammation progresses due to the action of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1 (IL-1), the tumor necrosis factor (TNF), gamma-interferon (IFNgamma), IL-12, IL-18, and the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and regresses in response to anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IFNalpha, and the transforming growth factor (TGF) beta.

Click gene symbol on the map to view ORF/cDNA clone.

Data source: KEGG, BioCarta