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Glossary Term


Cytokines are small proteins that play a crucial role in immune function, particularly in inflammation. They include interferon, interleukin, and growth factors, secreted by immune cells to affect other cells. Cytokines are still being researched to distinguish them from hormones.

Cytokine: A broad and loose category of small proteins that act through receptors, and are especially important to immune function (inflammation). Cytokines include substances such as interferon, interleukin, and growth factors, which are secreted by certain cells of the immune system and have an effect on other cells. Their definite distinction from hormones is a topic of continued research.