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Cytokines

Cytokines (Greek cyto-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are small cell-signaling protein molecules that are responsible for the growth and regulation of cells. They are part of a group of peptides, which largely regulate the proliferation and differentiation of are secreted by numerous cells and are a category of signaling molecules used extensively in intercellular communication of target cells. Therefore some cytokines are named growth factors, others play an important role in immuneregulation reactions and can be considered as mediators.

We know five main groups of cytokines: interferons, interleukins, colony stimulating factors, tumor necrosis factors and chemokines.