Growth Factors and Cytokines

Growth factors are the proteins that bind to receptors on the cell surface of non-hematopoietic cells and result in proliferation or differentiation of the affected cells. Each family of growth factors affect specific cell types. For example, epidermal growth factors (EGF), affect epithelial cell types, similarly platelet derived growth factors (PDGF), affect only fibroblasts commonly found in connective tissues. Cytokines, often compared with growth factors, are pivotal part of the signaling mechanism that orchestrates the immune response to bacterial infection. Aside immune responses, cytokines cause cell proliferation, others may cause chemotaxis between different cell types, and some can even cause apoptosis. Cytokines and growth factors are somewhat similar in their structure and mechanism of action. Both bind to specific cell surface receptors that initiate signaling pathways as well as have receptors that share distinct structural homologies.
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