Author: V. Dimov, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist and Assistant Professor at University of Chicago
Reviewer: S. Randhawa, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist and Assistant Professor at LSU (Shreveport) Department of Allergy and Immunology

What is the difference between cytokine, interleukin and chemokine?

Cytokines (Greek cyto-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are substances secreted by cells of the immune system which carry signals locally between cells. They are proteins, peptides, or glycoproteins.

Interleukins are a group of cytokines first found to be expressed by white blood cells (leukocytes). The name is a misnomer since interleukins are produced by a wide variety of cells, not only leukocytes.

Chemokines (Greek -kinos, movement) are a family of small cytokines, or proteins secreted by cells. The name is derived from their ability to induce directed chemotaxis in nearby responsive cells; they are chemotactic cytokines.

What is the number of FDA-approved immunomodulators for asthma as of April 2010?

One. Omalizumab (Xolair ®) (exclusing SCIT, of course).

What is a "classic" cytokine inhibitor that you use very often?

Glucocorticoids are potent transcriptional inhibitors and have been available for many years. Many effects of glucocorticoids: inhibition of NF-kB, adhesion molecule expression, arachidonic acid metabolism, metalloproteinase production, etc.

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