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Definition of «Chemokine»

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Chemokine: One of a large group of proteins that act as lures and were first found attracting white blood cells. The chemokines are involved in a wide variety of processes including acute and chronic types of inflammation, infectious diseases, and cancer. Chemokines may lure cancer cells and help determine the sites to which cancer cells spread by metastasis.

The first chemokine to be identified was interleukin-8 (IL-8). Most chemokines belong to one of two major subfamilies -- the CXC and CC subfamilies -- based on the arrangement of the first two of the 4 cysteine residues. The 2 cysteines are separated by a single amino acid in CXC chemokines while the 2 cysteines are adjacent in CC chemokines. Most CXC chemokines are chemoattractants for neutrophils whereas CC chemokines generally attract monocytes, lymphocytes, basophils, and eosinophils.

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