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The widespread distribution of cellular sources for cytokines may be a feature that differentiates them from hormones.
Virtually all nucleated cells, but especially endo/epithelial cells and resident macrophages (many near the interface with the external environment) are potent producers of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α.
It can be said that cytokines are involved in autocrine signalling, paracrine signalling and endocrine signalling as immunomodulating agents.
Their definite distinction from hormones is still part of ongoing research.
The effect of a particular cytokine on a given cell depends on the cytokine, its extracellular abundance, the presence and abundance of the complementary receptor on the cell surface, and downstream signals activated by receptor binding; these last two factors can vary by cell type.
Cytokines are characterized by considerable "redundancy", in that many cytokines appear to share similar functions. showed that inflammatory cytokines cause an IL-10-dependent inhibition of Normal tissue integrity is preserved by feedback interactions between diverse cell types mediated by adhesion molecules and secreted cytokines; disruption of normal feedback mechanisms in cancer threatens tissue integrity.
In this regard, and also because the redundancy and pleomorphism of cytokines are, in fact, a consequence of their homologous receptors, many authorities think that a classification of cytokine receptors would be more clinically and experimentally useful.
A classification of cytokine receptors based on their three-dimensional structure has, therefore, been attempted.
Further, as molecules, cytokines are not limited to their immunomodulatory role.
Cytokines have been classed as lymphokines, interleukins, and chemokines, based on their presumed function, cell of secretion, or target of action.
As scientists learned more, it was understood that these proteins and others were part of a broader class of proteins involved in self-defense, and should be called "cytokines".
M) concentrations that can increase up to 1,000-fold during trauma or infection.
Cytokines also play a role in anti-inflammatory pathways and are a possible therapeutic treatment for pathological pain from inflammation or peripheral nerve injury.