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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 1998 Sep-Dec;9(3-4):259-75.

Cytokine actions in the central nervous system.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0005, USA.


Cytokines and chemokines have been implicated in contributing to the initiation, propagation and regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. Also, these soluble mediators have important roles in contributing to a wide array of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS Dementia Complex, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Cytokines and chemokines are synthesized within the central nervous system by glial cells and neurons, and have modulatory functions on these same cells via interactions with specific cell-surface receptors. In this article, I will discuss the ability of glial cells and neurons to both respond to, and synthesize, a variety of cytokines. The emphasize will be on three select cytokines; interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), a cytokine with predominantly proinflammatory effects; interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties; and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a cytokine with predominantly immunosuppressive actions. The significance of these cytokines to neurological diseases with an immunological component will be discussed.

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