Cytokines are small, short-lived proteins secreted by many different cell types. As signaling molecules, cytokines provide communication between cells and play a crucial role in modulating innate and adaptive immune response. The family of cytokines includes interferons, interleukins, chemokines, mesenchymal growth factors, tumor necrosis factor family and adipokines. Interferons (IFNs) are a multigene family of inducible cytokines with antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory function. Recombinant DNA technology can be useful in the production of human IFNs. This process includes fermentation, purification, and formation of the final product. Interleukins are classified in families based on sequence homology, receptor-binding properties, biological function, and cellular sources. TNF and IL-1 are considered to be key mediators of inflammatory response, while IL-6 plays a key role in the transition from acute to chronic inflammation. The inhibition of TNF includes administration of anti-TNF antibody and TNF receptor (TNFR). The reduction of IL-1 level can be achieved by the administration of anti-IL-1 antibody or IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), and the reduction of IL-6 level in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases can be achieved by the administration of anti-IL-6 antibody and anti-IL-6 receptor antibody. Recombinant cytokines and cytokine antagonists (antibodies and receptors) can be used in treating many different diseases.
Part of the book: Physiology and Pathology of Immunology