Cytokines (hormone-like polypeptide mediators) play a major role in inflammatory and immunoregulatory responses. Skin, and particularly keratinocytes in the skin, represent a potent source for many cytokines, including interleukins 1, 6, 8, and the hemopoietic colony stimulating factors. Cytokines initiate their biologic action by interacting with target cells bearing cytokine receptors and then initiating a cascade of cellular interactions. Certain inflammatory skin diseases have been associated with overproduction of cytokines, alteration in cytokine receptors, or dysregulation of cytokines. While data is still quite preliminary, it is likely that cytokines contribute to the pathogenesis of many inflammatory skin diseases.
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