Cytokines vs Chemokines- Definition and 8 Major Differences

Differences between Cytokines and Chemokines

Differences between Cytokines and Chemokines

Here are some differences:


Characteristics Cytokines


1. Definition Small proteins produced dominantly by immune cells which are important in cell signaling. Specific cytokines that are specially adapted for chemotaxis of cells.
2. Description A broad family of chemical messengers serving to bring about the immune response. They are chemotactic cytokines.
3. Size ~5–20 kDa ~ 8-10 kDa
4. Classification Cytokines include chemokines, interferon, interleukins, lymphokines, and tumor necrosis factor. Chemokines have been classified into four main subfamilies: CXC, CC, CX3C, and XC.
5. Involvement in immunity Involved in both humoral and cell-mediated immunity. Involved only in directing cells of the immune system to a target site.
6. Functions Help in signaling molecules that mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation, and hematopoiesis.

They are also critical controllers of the cell, and hence tissue, growth, migration, development, and differentiation.

Direct the migration of white blood cells to infected or damaged tissues i.e. guide cell movement towards a target location.

They are implicated in both immunological reactions and in the homeostasis of the immune system.

7. Importance Serves a regulatory role (acts like messengers) in the immune system. The healing process following the resolution of infection is mediated by cytokines. It helps to ensure that the infection does not spread to other parts of the body from the origin or site of detection.
8. Examples IL-1,6,12, IFN-a, TNFα, IFN-γ etc. monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1 or CCL2), CCL1, CCL15, CCL21, CXCR1-7, XCL1 etc.

Differences between Cytokines and Chemokines

About Author

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Sagar Aryal

Sagar Aryal is a microbiologist and a scientific blogger. He is currently doing his Ph.D. from the Central Department of Microbiology, Tribhuvan University in collaboration with Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrucken, Germany. He did his M.Sc. in Microbiology and B.Sc. in Microbiology from St. Xavier’s College, Kathmandu, Nepal. He worked as a Lecturer at St. Xavier’s College, Maitighar, Kathmandu, Nepal, from March 2017 to June 2019. He is interested in research on actinobacteria, myxobacteria, and natural products. He has published more than 15 research articles and book chapters in international journals and well-renowned publishers.

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