Cytokines - their functional roles and prospective applications in veterinary practice: A review
Cytokines are a group of proteins synthesized mainly by various cells of the host immune system. They act separately or in unison to play the role of chemical messengers of immune system and orchestrate multiple functions that have mainly favorable implications. During various disease conditions, these molecules augment the host defenses. Apart from this, multiple biological properties (pleiotropism) have been considered a hallmark of cytokines. At present, various cytokines have been identified that include interferons (IFN), interleukins (IL), the chemokine family molecules, mesenchymal growth factors, members of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family and adipokines. They affect nearly every biological process that includes embryonic development, disease pathogenesis, and non-specific or specific immune responses. Cytokines may act on the cells in autocrine, paracrine or in endocrine fashion and all such activities are mediated via different cytokine receptors. But as individual effector molecules, they have short half-life and low plasma concentrations, which complicates the isolation as well as the characterization of cytokines. However, their activities are analyzed using recombinant cytokines and purified cell populations, or with knockout mice for individual cytokine genes. Currently, the role of cytokines in various therapeutic interventions, their applications as adjuvants for new generation vaccines and the importance of their anti-tumor effects, have all been studied with considerable explorative outlook, especially in the field of human medicine. Besides, they have numerous other functions and properties, clearly depicted by various experimental works. Such studies have proven beyond doubt about the immense potential of the applications of cytokines in controlling various maladies of animals too. Hence as per the current scenario, the assessment of the effects of such molecules in veterinary medicine has to be thoroughly assessed by different experimental approaches, which will help in their standardization and practical implementation, for better prospects in the field of animal disease prevention and therapeutics, in the years to come.
Cytokines, interleukins, inflammation, infection, disease, adjuvant, animal, therapeutics.