Cytokines are a large and diverse family of small proteins released by cells. Cytokines interact with cells of the immune system in order to regulate the host response to disease and infection. Cytokines also mediate normal cellular processes in the body.
Cells produce different types of cytokines:
- immunoregulatory and proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins, interferons, and TNF-α
- growth and differentiation factors
- colony stimulating factors