Cytokines are small body proteins that are important in signalling cells around them to maintain tissues in a healthy state.
Cytokines as regulators
Cytokines help to regulate the body's immune response to infection, and play a key role in regulating inflammation and trauma. There are two types of cytokines - pro-inflammatory cytokines stimulate inflammation, while anti-inflammatory cytokines inhibit inflammation and enhance healing. In orthopaedics cytokines are particularly important when considering joint cartilage.
The role of cytokines in cartilage matrix degeneration in osteoarthritis.. Goldring SR and Goldring MB. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Oct;(427 Suppl):S27-36.
Inflammation in osteoarthritis. Goldring MB and Otero M. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011 Sep; 23(5): 471–478.