Cytokine Cell Biology: A Practical Approach


Cytokines are important in the regulation of the immune system, not only controlling growth and differentiation but providing a messaging network through which different components of the immune system can interact. Over the past decade, the number of identified cytokines has expanded enormously - the interleukins alone now number over 20 members. Following the recent publication of the human genome sequence, the number of known cytokines will surely increase dramatically over the next few years. Given the importance of cytokines in the immune system, many of these molecules are being investigated as potential therapeutic targets, and this field of study can only expand in the future. An updated ‘practical approach to cytokine biology’ therefore arrives at an opportune moment.

The latest edition has been split into 2 volumes, Cytokine Cell Biology and Cytokine Molecular Biology. Cytokine Cell Biology covers the techniques necessary to investigate the production and activity of cytokines. Each chapter, either directly or through reference to other chapters, covers the methods required to perform experiments from the initial preparation of cells through to the protocols for assaying cytokine function. Further information about the conditions required for successful cell culture and techniques such as FACS analysis, are also clearly presented, enabling complex experiments to be designed from start to finish. Chapters including detailed assays for the effect of cytokines on the activation, proliferation, migration and cytotoxicity of cells are included, with specific reference to macrophages, B and T lymphocytes. In addition to the study of cytokine function, several chapters deal with methods for the detection of cytokine production. These include protocols for immune histo chemical analysis, ELISA, Elispot and FACS-based assays of cytokines. In areas such as this, it would be beneficial to have access to both the cellular and molecular biology volumes, because the molecular volume contains an excellent chapter detailing additional methods such as RNase protection and RT-PCR for assaying cytokine gene expression.

Best Regards,
Veronica Thompson
Journal Manager
Journal of Cytokine Biology