[ sahy-tuh-kahyn ]

  1. a type of small protein, as interferon, secreted by certain cells, especially immune cells, that helps regulate the body’s immune response to inflammation and disease:Cytokines are like the body’s messenger system for mobilizing its response to pathogens. The largest group of cytokines that stimulate immune cell proliferation are the interleukins.

Origin of cytokine

First recorded in 1970–75; cyto- + -kine, from Greek kineîn “to move, set in motion”; cf. -kinin

Words Nearby cytokine Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cytokine in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cytokine


/ (ˈsaɪtəʊˌkaɪn) /

  1. any of various proteins, secreted by cells, that carry signals to neighbouring cells. Cytokines include interferon

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for cytokine


[ tə-kīn′ ]

  1. Any of several regulatory proteins, such as the interleukins and lymphokines, that are released by cells of the immune system and act as intercellular mediators in the generation of an immune response. Also called chemokine

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.