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Cytokines transmit various signals for cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, and functional activity, circulate in picomolar concentrations, and may increase in magnitude almost a thousand-fold in response to an infection or inflammation.

Cytokines are crucial in controlling the growth and activity of the immune system cells and blood cells. They can be used to treat cancer and/or help prevent or manage chemotherapy side effects when injected, either subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intravenously. They also help to boost anti-cancer activity by sending signals that can cause abnormal cell death and increase the longevity of normal cells.

Base on recent studies, Bovine colostrum contains high concentrations of cytokines, and colostral cytokines are considered to be an important factor in stimulation of maturation of the immune system in newborns.  Cytokines can exert systemic as well as local effects. A cytokine's actions may affect the same cell it was secreted from, other nearby cells or may act in a more endocrine manner and produce effects across the whole of the body, such as in the case of fever, for example. Cytokines have a large distribution of sources for their production, with nearly all cells that have a nucleus capable of producing interleukin 1 (IL-1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), particularly endothelial cells, epithelial cells, and resident macrophages.

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