Cytokines are small secreted ‘messenger proteins’ that allow communication between cells. They contribute to a chemical signalling language that controls many processes in multicellular organisms including haematopoiesis, chemoattraction, tissue repair, embryogenesis and virtually all aspects of immunity and inflammation. Cytokine functions are mediated by their binding to specific receptors to initiate intracellular signalling cascades that increase or decrease expression of transcription factors and genes regulating, for example, secretion of effector molecules (including other cytokines), cell proliferation and expression of membrane receptors. They play an important role in many pathologies and indeed measurement of cytokine profiles in patients provides a useful indicator of disease. Due to their multiple functions in disease, therapeutic interference of cytokines, cytokine receptors and their signal transduction pathways offer new treatment options for a range of disorders.
|Name||Encyclopedia of Life Sciences|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons|