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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2007 Feb-Apr;18(1-2):195-207. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

The relevance of cytokines for development of protective immunity and rational design of vaccines.

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Laboratory for Vaccine Research, Departamento de Desarrollo Biotecnológico, Instituto de Higiene, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la Republica, Av. Navarro 3051, CP 11600, Uruguay.


Cytokines are key regulators of the immune system that shape innate and adaptive immune responses. An adequate balance of the cytokine environment is critical to achieve protective immunity and to avoid immunopathology. Present knowledge allows a deeper understanding of the cytokine network and their sometimes conflicting roles in the development of immune responses, as well as their relevance in the establishment and maintenance of immunological memory. New insights have been gained into the role of different T cell subsets for protection against infection or tumor growth. The incorporation of cytokines as molecular adjuvants in vaccines has been attempted to strengthen vaccine-induced immune responses, and as a rational approach to modulate cytokine milieu in vivo and tailor host immunity for specific situations. These approaches have been tried in experimental models and veterinary species, and a few of them have entered into clinical trials. However, manipulating the cytokine network to modulate immune responses is not a simple task, because cytokine functions are complex and the final effects on the immune response will depend on timing and length of exposure, cell(s) targeted and other cytokines present in the same microenvironment. Here, we will review our present understanding on the role of cytokines in the development of effector and memory T cell responses. Also the potential use of cytokines as molecular adjuvant for vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer will be revised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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