Immunologic messenger molecules: cytokines, interferons, and chemokines

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Feb;125(2 Suppl 2):S53-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Cytokines and chemokines are secreted proteins involved in numerous aspects of cell growth, differentiation, and activation. A prominent feature of these molecules is their effect on the immune system with regard to cell trafficking and development of immune tissue and organs. The nature of an immune response determines which cytokines are produced and ultimately whether the response is cytotoxic, humoral, cell mediated, or allergic. For this chapter, cytokines are grouped according to those that are predominantly antigen-presenting cell or T lymphocyte derived; that mediate cytotoxic, humoral, cell mediated, and allergic immunity; or that are immunosuppressive. A discussion of chemokine function and their role in cell trafficking and disease follows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Cell Communication / immunology*
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Chemokines / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Immunosuppression
  • Interferons / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Interferons