University College London
Cytokines are small soluble proteins that act as messengers between cells. More than 200 cytokines and their receptors have now been identified and shown to interact in a network that controls growth and differentiation of a variety of cellular systems including T and B lymphocytes in antibody responses. The cytokine network exhibits incredible complexity involving negative and positive feedback loops, which give it properties that cannot easily be analysed by conventional experimental techniques. In order to understand how the numerous cytokines interact to regulate lymphocyte function it will be useful to develop models that can be examined mathematically as well as experimentally. These models should take into account molecular interactions between cytokines and their receptors as well as cellular proliferation, differentiation and migration. Analysis of the system as a whole will involve integration of cellular, molecular and genetic components that may be separated by time and space. By combining experimental immunology with mathematical modelling, it should be possible to gain a better understanding of how cytokines regulate the immune system and how breakdown in normal regulation can give rise to immunological diseases and malignancies.
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Last Modified: Monday, 30-Apr-2012 15:36:46 CDT