UNIT 1.31 Overview of Approaches to the Identification of Inhibitors of Cytokine Action

  1. Joseph R. Woska, Jr.,
  2. Jeanne Magram

Published Online: 1 JAN 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471141755.ph0131s27

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

How to Cite

Woska,, J. R. and Magram, J. 2005. Overview of Approaches to the Identification of Inhibitors of Cytokine Action. Current Protocols in Pharmacology. 27:1.31:1.31.1–1.31.10.

Author Information

  1. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Ridgefield, Connecticut

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2005
  2. Published Print: DEC 2004


Cytokines are key regulatory molecules that serve as critical mediators of cell-to-cell communication. They play a central role in immune function and are important molecular targets for drug discovery because of their dysregulation in immune disease. Initial attempts to develop agents that block the actions of cytokines focused on identifying small-molecule antagonists that would directly compete with these cytokines for their cognate receptors. These efforts were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Outlined in this unit are strategies for developing new approaches. The first section describes strategies for how one might build a conceptual framework to approach this problem. The second section focuses on the technical approaches that can be utilized to accomplish the strategies outlined in the first section. These concepts are illustrated using interleukin-2 (IL-2) as a prototype, since there is a substantial body of knowledge regarding this cytokine, including information on its functions, signaling pathways, and physiological effects in normal and diseased tissue.


  • cytokines;
  • antagonists;
  • assays