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What is a cytokine?

Cytokines are chemicals released by cells that allow them to communicate with each other. Cyto means cell and kin- means kinesis or movement. These types of chemicals are released by one type of cell to call other cells to another area of the body. For instance, when there is an infection in your finger, the first cells on the scene will secrete chemicals that signal other white blood cells to come to their aid. They also are sensed in the hypothalamus and cause the body's thermostat to be reset to cause a fever which is another reaction natural reaction to microbes in the body. There are many different kinds of cytokines and more are being discovered all the time. There is a very active branch of biological research today that deals with cell to cell signaling.

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