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Any of various small proteins that are produced by a variety of cell types, especially T cells and other white blood cells, and that regulate many aspects of inflammation and the immune response, including stimulating the production of white blood cells and platelets.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Biochemistry) a substance extracted from white blood cells that stimulates their activity against infection and may be used to combat some forms of cancer
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɪn tərˌlu kɪn)
any of a family of small proteins that participate in the body's defense system, esp. by promoting the growth and activation of white blood cells.
[1979; inter- + leuk (ocyte) + -in1; so called because such proteins act as agents of communication between different populations of leukocytes]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.interleukin - any of several lymphokines that promote macrophages and killer T cells and B cells and other components of the immune system
lymphokine - a cytokine secreted by helper T cells in response to stimulation by antigens and that acts on other cells of the immune system (as by activating macrophages)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
IL-21 is a four-helix bundle cytokine and a member of the Type 1 cytokines, which also include IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15.
Furthermore, in vitro we investigated mRNA expression for IL-22 and IL-22 BP, and IL 22 receptor after co-stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from individuals with asthma and normal controls with Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-9, and GM-CSF in a time-dependent manner.
CD is usually designated as a Th1 and Th17 condition with elevated production of IL-12, IL-23, IFN-[gamma], and IL-17, whereas UC is usually characterized as a Th2 and Th9 condition with increased production of IL-13, IL-5, and IL-9 [2].
Renauld, "Cloning and characterization of IL-10-related T cell-derived inducible factor (IL-TIF), a novel cytokine structurally related to IL-10 and inducible by IL-9," Journal of Immunology, vol.