Cells communicate with each other through direct binding between surface receptors and ligands, and also through cytokines that are secreted. The milieu of cytokines in the extracellular space often dictates the type of immune response mounted by cells. IFNα and IFNβ are type I interferons that stimulate expression of many genes associated with innate immunity. IFNγ can be produced by both innate immune cells like macrophages and adaptive cells like T cells, and is known to be important for antiviral responses. TNFα signaling results in inflammation, while IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13 are generally anti-inflammatory. Improper signals can cause the immune system to over- or underreact to a stimulus, which can have detrimental effects like autoimmunity or weak immunity to pathogens.
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