Cytokines are a type of protein or a glycoprotein that is secreted by specific cells of the immune system. They play a key role in cell signaling and affect the communication between two cells. Cytokines can affect their host cell (autocrine) nearby cells (paracrine), or in some cases, distant cells (endocrine). Measuring a single cytokine may miss an important facet of a response progression as they are full of redundancy. Besides, the common cascading of cytokines can more readily be observed if a suite of these proteins is measured simultaneously, leading to a greater understanding of the disease process and subsequent management; this has become increasingly desirable in laboratory medicine.

The concept that a single molecule could possess multiple diverse biological activities was initially viewed with skepticism, but the advent of molecular cloning of cytokine cDNA, and subsequent expression of recombinant forms removed any doubt. Using these tools, cytokine research advanced rapidly, exposing these as multipurpose biological agents in a multitude of human conditions. Recombinant cytokines also provide antigens for antibody production, leading to the rapid quantification of their antigens using ELISA or ELISA-based technology, such as Biochip Array Technology. You can use Multiplex cytokine assay service to test Multiplex ELISA.

The duplication in cytokine function is demonstrated in the host defense and immune response. Microbial infection stimulates the release of a diverse range of cytokines, which set in train several mechanisms that can deal with the invasion. For example, cells migrate to the site of infection, reactive oxygen species are produced to aid phagocyte-mediated assassination and coagulation is promoted. Concurrently, additional cytokines assist dendritic cells in the process of microbe antigen presentation, which leads to the production of neutralizing antibodies. The importance of the action of cytokines has conferred evolutionary pressure to have alternatives in host defense and the immune response. This has made studying disease responses much more problematic and again highlights the need to study a suite of cytokines or cytokine receptors simultaneously.

In some cases, the immune response over-reacts, turning cytokines against the body they are designed to protect. When the cytokine cascades fail to shut down, they drive the host into a state of chronically activated cells, which dominate an otherwise dormant immune system. Examples of the most obvious manifestations of this hypersensitivity are an unnecessary inflammatory response and fever, both of which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

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