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They are different from hormones, which are also important cell signaling molecules, in that hormones circulate in less variable concentrations and hormones tend to be made by specific kinds of cells.
They are important in health and disease, specifically in host responses to infection, immune responses, inflammation, trauma, sepsis, cancer, and reproduction.
Because cytokines are characterised by considerable redundancy and pleiotropism, such distinctions, allowing for exceptions, are obsolete.
A classification that proves more useful in clinical and experimental practice outside of structural biology divides immunological cytokines into those that enhance cellular immune responses, type 1 (TNFα, IFN-γ, etc.), and type 2 (TGF-β, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, etc.), which favor antibody responses.
M) concentrations that can increase up to 1,000-fold during trauma or infection.The word comes from Greek: cyto, from Greek "κύτος" kytos "cavity, cell" kines, from Greek "κίνησις" kinēsis "movement".