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cytokine (plural cytokines)

  1. (biochemistry, immunology) Any of various small regulatory proteins that regulate the cells of the immune system.
    • 1991, Maxine Gowen, Cytokines and Bone Metabolism, page 26,
      A fundamental feature expressed by the vast majority of cytokines is a profound immunomodulatory activity.
      Many cytokines, presently available in pure recombinant form, modify bone cell metabolism.
    • 2012, Victor R. Preedy, Ross Hunter (editors), Preface, Cytokines, page v,
      The cytokines are generally considered to be a group of peptides secreted by cells of the immune system such as macrophages, lymphocytes and T cells, although the same peptides may also be secreted by non-immune cells such as neurological tissues and adipocytes.
    • 2013, Errol B. De Souza (editor), Preface, Neurobiology of Cytokines: Methods in Neurosciences, Volume 16, page xiii,
      The cytokines provide a classic example of products of the immune system which alter brain and endocrine activities. A variety of cytokines, including interleukin 1, interleukin 2, interleukin 6, and tumor necrosis factor α, have been traditionally associated with peripheral control of the immune system, inflammation, and acute phase response.


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