- Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner.
Definition from: MeSH via Unified Medical Language System at the National Library of Medicine
- Soluble factors elaborated by cells of the immune system that act on other cells to regulate their function.
Definition from: CRISP Thesaurus via Unified Medical Language System at the National Library of Medicine
- Any of a class of immunoregulatory proteins (as interleukin, tumor necrosis factor, and interferon) that are secreted by cells especially of the immune system.
Definition from: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary by Merriam-Webster Inc.
- A substance that is produced by cells of the immune system and can affect the immune response. Cytokines can also be produced in the laboratory by recombinant DNA technology and given to people to affect immune responses.
National Cancer Institute
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.