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Crit Care Med. 2000 Apr;28(4 Suppl):N3-12.

Cytokine signaling--regulation of the immune response in normal and critically ill states.

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Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610, USA.


Cytokines are produced during the activation of innate and acquired immunity, and are the principal means for intercellular communication of a microbial invasion. Cytokines serve to initiate the inflammatory response and to define the magnitude and the nature of the acquired immune response. The response of critically ill patients to their injury and/or invading pathogens is dependent, in large part, on the pattern of cytokines which are produced. The immunologic response of critically ill patients can vary from a strongly proinflammatory response, characterized by increased production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and IL-12 to one predominantly of anergy, characterized by increased production of T(H)2 cytokines, like IL-10 and to IL-4. Therapeutic efforts to modify the host immune response in critical illness will require a more thorough understanding of the cytokine milieu and the factors that determine their production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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