Nomenclature Cytokines have been classed as lymphokines


Cytokines have been classed as


interleukins, and


based on their presumed function, cell of secretion, or target of action. Because cytokines are characterised by considerable redundancy and pleiotropism, such distinctions, allowing for exceptions, are obsolete.

The term interleukin was initially used by researchers for those cytokines whose presumed targets are principally white blood cells (leukocytes). It is now used largely for designation of newer cytokine molecules and bears little relation to their presumed function. The vast majority of these are produced by T-helper cells.

Lymphokines: produced by lymphocytes

Monokines: produced exclusively by monocytes

Interferons: involved in antiviral responses

Colony stimulating factors: support the growth of cells in semisolid media

Chemokines: mediate chemoattraction (chemotaxis) between cells.