noun, plural: chemokines
Chemokines belong to a class of pro-inflammatory cytokines that have the ability to attract and activate leukocytes. Their name is derived from chemotactic cytokines" based on their ability to induce and mediate chemotaxis in nearby responsive cells. Formerly, they were called SIS family of cytokines, SIG family of cytokines, SCY family of cytokines, Platelet factor-4 superfamily or intercrines.
Chemokines can be divided into at least four structural branches: c (chemokines, c), cc (chemokines, cc), cx3c (chemokines, cx3c), and cxc (chemokines, cxc). The classification is according to the variations in a shared cysteine motif.
Chemokines may also be classified based on their functions. Homeostatic chemokines are chemokines that are responsible for basal leukocyte migration. Examples of homeostatic chemokines are CCL14, CCL19, CCL20, CCL21, CXCL12 and CXCL13. Nevertheless, some of them are not exclusive to this function. For instance, CCL20 is also associated with inflammation since it can act as pro-inflammatory chemokine as well. The inflammatory cytokines are those produced during pathologic conditions, particularly during the inflammatory phase. Examples of chemokines that carry such function include CXCL-8, CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, and CXCL10.