Cytokines and the Inflammatory Response

Cytokines regulate many biological processes, including inflammatory and immune responses. Cytokines can be broadly defined as molecules that are made by one cell and act on another.1,2

The complex network of cytokines balances pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. An imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines or the uncontrolled production of cytokines can result in inflammatory disease. 3,4

* The definition of cytokine function is ever changing, with many cytokines playing multiple roles.

Copyright 2007 Wiley-Blackwell, Inc. Used with permission from Arend WP, Physiology of cytokine pathways in rheumatoid arthritis, Arthritis Care and Research, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • Next: Cytokine Networks in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

*Created, in part, through a collaboration with Professor Peter Taylor and Professor Gary S. Firestein.

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1. McInnes IB, Schett G. Cytokines in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Nat Rev Immunol. 2007;7(6):429-442.
2. Leonard WJ. Cytokines and immunodeficiency diseases. Nat Rev Immunol. 2001;1(3):200-208.
3. Chizzolini C, Dayer J-M, Miossec P. Cytokines in chronic rheumatic diseases: is everything lack of homeostatic balance? Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(5):246-256.
4. McInnes IB, Liew FY. Cytokine networks—towards new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2005;1(1):31-39.
5. Arend WP. Physiology of cytokine pathways in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001;45(1):101-106.
6. Waldburger JM, Firestein GS. Garden of therapeutic delights: new targets in rheumatic diseases. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(1):206-216.
7. Mavers M, Ruderman EM, Perlman H. Intracellular signal pathways: potential for therapies. Rheumatoid Arthritis. 2009;11:378-385.
8. Ghoreschi K, Laurence A, O'Shea JJ. Janus kinases in immune cell signaling. Immunol Rev. 2009;228(1):273-287.