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Volume 24, Number 7—July 2018

Etymologia: Cytokines

Thomas J. GryczanComments to Author 

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Cytokines [si′to-kīnes]

From the Greek cyto (cavity or cell) and kine (movement), cytokines are proteins involved in cell signaling and function as immunomodulating agents. Cytokines are produced by immune cells (e.g., macrophages, B and T lymphocytes, mast cells, neutrophils, natural killer cells), endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and stromal cells.

Although the term cytokine had not yet even been defined, interferon-α, the first cytokine known, was identified in 1957 as a protein that interfered with virus replication. Activities of interferon-γ and interleukin-2 were identified in 1965. Macrophage migratory inhibitory factor was identified in 1966. In 1969, Dumonde and colleagues proposed the term lymphokine to describe proteins secreted from lymphocytes. Proteins derived from macrophages and monocytes were later called monokines. In 1974, Cohen and colleagues reported production of macrophage migration inhibitory factors in virus-infected fibroblasts, which led (finally) to proposal of the term cytokine.



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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2407.et2407

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Table of Contents – Volume 24, Number 7—July 2018

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Thomas J. Gryczan, EID Journal, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop C19, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: June 18, 2018
Page updated: June 18, 2018
Page reviewed: June 18, 2018
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