Osteopathy: cytokines


Cytokines are low molecular weight proteins that mediate and regulate immune responses. They play a similar role as hormones. Where hormones usually act as communicators at distance, cytokinines mostly act locally. Cytokinines initiate the synthesis of new proteins.

They can activate many cells in different ways (this is calles pleitropism) and different cystokinines may have the same effect.

A variety of cells can make cystokinines, often leucocytes.

Cystokinines are involved in:
• Cell growth, differentiation and death.
• Hematopoiesis.
• Adaptive immunity (act on lymphocytes).
• Innate immunity.
• Inflammation and fever.

Cytokinines can act on:
• The producing cell (autocrine).
• Receptors of nearby cells (paracrine).
• Distant cells (endocrine).

Thus, the immune response of alerting and recruiting more number of white blood cells (WBCs) to combat the infection is done by these chemical messengers (cytokines). In fact, cytokines are crucial in regulating the function of the immune system. Cytokines work in a similar manner in response to an injury or wound. In such circumstances, cytokines signal to increase the population of white blood cells at the injured site to speed up healing.

Cytokines are also mediators of inflammatory response that occurs after a living tissue is damaged. Inflammation caused by cytokines is a defense mechanism, which helps to keep the injury localized.

Some examples of cytokines: interleukins, neurotrophines, interferons, tumor necrosis factor, erythropoietin, fibroblast growing factor,…

Cytokines can as well stimulate stimulate the inflammatory reactions as it can also inhibit this inflammatory reaction.

Cytokine production and reception can be influenced by a variety of elements such as heat and cold, bacterial and viral stimuli, non-bacterial metabolic stimuli, age, gender seasonality, vit D levels,…

Cytokine Storm
It is a life-threatening immune response in which the cytokines signal to make abnormally large number of antibodies to combat an infection. Medical conditions like acute pancreatitis are typically marked by cytokine storm.
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