Inflammation is mediated by a variety of soluble factors, including a group of secreted polypeptides known as cytokines. Inflammatory cytokines can be divided into two groups: those involved in acute inflammation and those responsible for chronic inflammation. This review describes the role played in acute inflammation by IL-1, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-11, IL-8 and other chemokines, G-CSF, and GM-CSF. It also describes the involvement of cytokines in chronic inflammation. This latter group can be subdivided into cytokines mediating humoral responses such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, and IL-13, and those mediating cellular responses such as IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12, interferons, transforming growth factor-beta, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and beta. Some cytokines, such as IL-1, significantly contribute to both acute and chronic inflammation. This review also summarizes features of the cell-surface receptors that mediate the inflammatory effects of the described cytokines.