Cytokines in the Treatment of Infection

  • D. C. Dale
Part of the Developments in Hematology and Immunology book series (DIHI, volume 32)


It is now well accepted that host defense mechanisms, both cellular and humoral, are regulated by a family of cytokines, interleukins and colony-stimulating factors (CSFs). Control of antibody production and humoral immunity including antigen processing, T-cell and B-cell responses and the proliferation of plasma cells are under the control of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) through IL-17. Naturally occurring diseases and gene “knockout” experiments in mice clearly indicate the essential roles for some of these factors and their receptors in maintaining humoral immunity [1], Similarly, cellular immunity, largely mediated through T-cells, is under the control of the interleukins, and mediated through specific cell surface receptors for these factors. Although our understanding of interleukins in humoral and cellular host defense mechanisms is advancing rapidly, clinical applications of interleukins to modify in vivo lymphocyte mediated responses is still largely at the investigative stage. Interesting potential clinical applications include the use of IL-2 to treat HIV infected individuals [2], the use of autologous IL-2 expanded cells for prevention of cytomegalovirus infections in bone marrow transplant patients [3], and potential applications of IL-10 to modify the suppressor/helper functions of lymphocytes in a variety of inflammatory and infectious diseases [4]. The interferons, well characterized cytokines produced in response to many viral infections, can also be used pharmacologically to modify the course of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and some other infections as outlined in recent reviews [5,6].


Visceral Leishmaniasis Bone Marrow Transplant Patient Haematopoietic Growth Factor Neutrophil Production Chronic Neutropenia 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

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  • D. C. Dale

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