chapter  1
4 Pages

The cytokine family

Cytokines are an important group of proteins realizing intercellular communications among cells of the same tissue (paracrine) or of different tissues (endocrine). Such communications are essential for the correct synchronized reactions of the cells of different tissues. In the literature different designations are used to denote these factors: lymphokines, monokines, interleukins, and growth factors, which are now unified under the common name

cytokines

. The main cytokines include interleukins 1 to 18 (IL-1 to IL-18); interferons

α

,

β

, and

γ

(IFN

α

, IFN

β

, and IFN

γ

, respectively); tumor necrosis factors

α

and

β

(TNF

α

and TNF

β

); colony-stimulating factors — granulocyte, macrophage, and granulocyte-macrophage (CSF-G, CSF-M, CSF-GM, respectively); basic and acid fibroblast growth factors (aFGF and bFGF); and others.