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Volume 24, Number 7—July 2018
Etymologia

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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References

  1. Cohen  S, Bigazzi  PE, Yoshida  T. Commentary. Similarities of T cell function in cell-mediated immunity and antibody production. Cell Immunol. 1974;12:1509. DOIPubMed
  2. Dumonde  DC, Wolstencroft  RA, Panayi  GS, Matthew  M, Morley  J, Howson  WT. “Lymphokines”: non-antibody mediators of cellular immunity generated by lymphocyte activation. Nature. 1969;224:3842. DOIPubMed
  3. Gordon  J, MacLean  LD. A lymphocyte-stimulating factor produced in vitro. Nature. 1965;208:7956. DOIPubMed
  4. Isaacs  A, Lindenmann  J. Virus interference. I. The interferon. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1957;147:25867. DOIPubMed
  5. Kasakura  S, Lowenstein  L. A factor stimulating DNA synthesis derived from the medium of leukocyte cultures. Nature. 1965;208:7945. DOIPubMed
  6. Wheelock  EF. Interferon-like virus-inhibitor induced in human leukocytes by phytohemagglutinin. Science. 1965;149:3101. DOI

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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
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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