The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Cytokines are critical to the immune response. Find out what it means for lung health.
When living with a chronic lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, or emphysema, chronic inflammation is a common condition of the disease’s pathophysiology. As inflammation within the lungs tends to expand airways and ultimately constrict breathing, it is critical to the relief of symptoms to address these root causes through anti-inflammatory means. Luckily for us, there are mechanisms within the body to address just that. They’re called cytokines, and they help the body fight infections such as fever and pain.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to break down the biological mechanism of Cytokines and Your Lungs: Here’s What You Need to Know.
So What is a Cytokine?
Derived from the Greek words “cyto” meaning cell, and “kinos” meaning movement, cytokines are molecules that enable signaling and ultimately message delivery between the cells. These molecules essentially allow cells to communicate with each other regarding certain actions to be taken and can trigger specific responses to injuries and infections. These molecules represent a larger family of molecules existing in peptide, protein and glycoproteins. Notable examples of cytokines in everyday use are interleukin and interferon, which are used after surgery in most cases, to regulate the body’s immune system in response to inflammation and infection.
What Does a Cytokine Do?
Cytokines are responsible for stimulating the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma. Though cytokines are similar in nature to hormones, they are unique to the extent that they can exert systemic as well as local effects. Interestingly enough, a cytokine’s actions can alter the same cell it was secreted from, while other times its sole purpose is to affect the actions of other cells—at times across the whole body, as in the case of fever.
What Does it Mean for My Lungs?
Due to the fact that cytokines are considered immunomodulating agents, or agents that can alter the immune system response, they are critical for addressing issues of inflammation that directly result from the immune response. When released within the lungs, cytokines are known to chemically message lung cells to induce an anti-inflammatory response, allowing the airways to dilate and allowing easier breathing.
The importance of cytokines within the body’s immune system cannot be understated. If you’re looking to take a more proactive approach to your health, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pneumoconiosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult stem cell treatment options. Wondering how stem cell therapy works? Or where is the Lung Institute? Contact us at (800) 729-3065 today for more info and to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.
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