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Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Aug;16(4):531-4.

Stress cytokines: pivotal proteins in immune regulatory networks; Opinion.

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Academic Department of Rheumatology, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, King's College, London, SE1 9RT, United Kingdom.


Stress proteins have three immunological regulatory functions: within the cell, on the cell membrane as signalling receptors, and in the extracellular environment as stress cytokines. They can activate the immune system by providing danger signals or they may downregulate immune and inflammatory responses. In addition, they can modulate immune responses by acting as chaperones for antigenic peptides while they themselves are processed and presented to T cells as self-peptides. We predict that the exploitation of the downregulatory properties of stress cytokines will have therapeutic applications in the treatment of human chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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