Cytokines are small proteins produced by various cells in the body, including immune cells, that play a crucial role in cell signaling and communication. They act as messengers, transmitting signals between cells to regulate immune responses, inflammation, and other physiological processes. Cytokines can have both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, depending on the specific type and context in which they are released. They help coordinate the body's immune response to infection, injury, or other challenges by recruiting immune cells to the site of inflammation, promoting cell growth and differentiation, and regulating the intensity and duration of immune reactions. Imbalances or dysregulation of cytokines can contribute to various diseases, including autoimmune disorders, allergies, and chronic inflammation.