Cytokines and Ligands

Cytokines are short-range acting, soluble products that are important in the cellular communication necessary for the generation of immune responses (31,3.2,33,34,3.5,3.6 and 37). Those produced predominantly by lymphocytes or monocytes are often referred to as lymphokines or monokines, but because so many are produced by multiple cell types, the term cytokine has gained favor. A large number of cytokines have been identified, although the roles of many of them are not yet well understood. Many of the cytokines are crucial in regulating lymphocyte development and the types of immune responses evoked by specific responses (37,38,39 and 40). Those most basically involved in common immune responses are listed in Table 1..2,.

TABLE 1.2. Cytokines

Ligands are cell surface molecules that bind molecules on the surface of other cells in order to transmit or receive signals critical to development or activation. Among those important for immune function are B7/CD28 and CD40/CD40 ligand. B7 on APCs binds CD28 or CTLA-4 (or both) on T lymphocytes to provide signals for activation and inhibition, respectively (41). CD40 ligand (CD40L) on activated T lymphocytes binds CD40 on B lymphocytes and macrophages to provide activation signals to those cells (42,43).

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