Difference between Cytokines and Chemokines
By Laura Lee - May 11, 2023

Cytokines and chemokines are two immune-modifying molecules that play roles in mediating and modulating immune system responses. Chemokines, ILs, INFs, CSFs, TNFs, and TGFs, are examples of cytokine superfamilies. Cytokines and chemokines are related in more ways than one, although they act differently.


A cytokine is a protein produced by immune and non-immune cells that influences the immune system. Some cytokines boost the immune system, while others suppress it. They may also be created in a lab and utilized to aid the body’s fight against cancer, infections, and other disorders. Interleukins, interferons, and colony-stimulating factors are examples of cytokines (filgrastim, sargramostim).

A chemokine is a protein produced by some immune cells and other cells in the body. Chemokines serve a crucial function in the immune response of the organism. They increase the migration of specific types of white blood cells and draw them to sites of inflammation to assist the body in fighting infections, inflammatory disorders, and other ailments. They also aid in the proper functioning of the immune system.

Cytokines vs. Chemokines

Cytokines and chemokines have a role in regulating the immunological response in the body. Chemokines are a cytokine that aids chemotaxis by directing other leukocytes to the site of infection. The primary distinction between cytokines and chemokines is their roles in immune response mediation. Cytokines are structurally identical and solely differ in their immune functions. Cytokines have a role in cellular immunity during inflammation by activating non-specific immune responses to infections. Cytokines also play a role in antibody-mediated immunity by stimulating T and B cells to create specific antibodies against a particular disease. 

Cells under Microscope


Comparison Chart
  1. Signaling molecules that aid in the mediation and regulation of immunity, inflammation, and hematopoiesis.
It directs white blood cell migration to diseased or injured tissues, i.e., direct cell transportation to a specific site
  1. They are also essential to cell regulators, tissue, growth, migration, development, and differentiation.
They are involved in both immunological reactivity and immune system homeostasis.