Cytokines Types and Functions

In this cytokines types and functions post we have briefly explained about cytokines of the immune system, types, mechanism of action and function. 

What is Cytokines?

Cytokines are a group of small proteins that play a role in mediating an organism’s response to injury or infection.  A cytokine’s mechanism of action is to transmit signals between cells in an organism.

Minute amounts of cytokines are secreted, each by a single cell type, and these cytokines of the immune system act as regulators in other cells by binding to specific receptors on their surface. Secondary signals are produced as a result of their interactions with the receptors, which inhibit or enhance the activity of specific genes within the cell. In contrast to endocrine hormones, which have the ability to act throughout the body, most cytokines of the immune system have a local effect, occurring near the cells that produced them.

Antigen-presenting cells and T-cell activation cause rapid intracellular biochemical cascades, which in turn induce transcription of a large number of genes, including cytokines and their receptors, to be activated.

Types of Cytokines

Cytokines are small, low-molecular-weight regulatory proteins or glycoproteins that are secreted by white blood cells and other cells throughout the body in response to a variety of different stimuli. Cytokines of the immune system are proteins that are normally secreted by immune system cells. The non-immune cells that secrete certain cytokines, such as type I Interferons and tumour necrosis factor (TNF), are referred to as non-immune cells (e.g. epithelial cells).

These proteins play a role in the regulation of the development of immune effector cells, and some cytokines are capable of performing direct effector functions on their own behalf.

It consists of the following items: Monokines are cytokines produced by mononuclear phagocytic cells, which are found in the bloodstream. Lymphokines are cytokines that are produced by activated lymphocytes, particularly T helper cells (Th cells). Interleukins are cytokines that act as a bridge between leukocytes and other cells in the body. Chemokines are cytokines that are primarily responsible for the migration of leucocytes.

Cytokines Types and Functions

Cytokines Types and Functions: Cytokines of the immune system

Mechanism of Action

Cytokines of the immune system bind to specific receptors on the surface of target cells’ membranes, activating signal transduction pathways that, in turn, alter gene expression in the target cells. In some cases, specific cytokines of the immune system can bind to receptors on the membrane of the same cell that secreted them, resulting in an autocrine response.

It is possible that the producer cell will bind to receptors on a target cell that is in close proximity to the producer cell, resulting in paracrine action. It is possible that it will bind to target cells in different parts of the body and exert endocrine action on them.

Function of Cytokines

Immune mediators and regulators: Immune mediators and regulators are produced primarily by mononuclear phagocytes in response to infectious agents, and are thought to regulate innate immunity.

T lymphocytes are the primary producers of mediators and regulators of adaptive immunity, which are produced in response to specific recognition of foreign antigens.

Stimulators of haematopoiesis: These substances are produced by bone marrow stromal cells, leukocytes, and other cells, and they help to promote the growth and differentiation of immature leukocytes in the body.

FAQ on Cytokines of the immune system

Stanley Cohen, M.D.

  1. Interleukins
  2. Interferons

Cytokines are proteins produced by cells

Cytokines help the body’s immune and inflammation responses.

Further Readings

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