The name given to a group of multifunctional cytokines once their amino acid structure is known. They are synthesized by lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and certain other cells. See lymphokine, cytokine. [inter- + leukocyte + -in]
- recombinant human i. 11 a drug that increases the number of blood platelets; useful in ameliorating severe thrombocytopenia resulting from cancer chemotherapy. SYN: rhIL-11.

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in·ter·leu·kin .in-tər-'lü-kən n any of various compounds of low molecular weight that are produced by lymphocytes, macrophages, and monocytes and that function esp. in regulation of the immune system and esp. cell-mediated immunity

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any of a family of proteins that control some aspects of haemopoiesis and the immune response (see cytokines). Many interleukins are currently characterized. Interleukin 2 (IL-2) stimulates T-lymphocytes to become natural killer cell, active against cancer cells, and is being investigated for the treatment of cancer: recombinant interleukin 2 (aldesleukin, Proleukin), administered by subcutaneous injection, can be of benefit in the treatment of hypernephroma (renal-cell carcinoma).

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in·ter·leu·kin (inґtər-loo″kin) [inter- + leukocyte] a generic term for a group of multifunctional cytokines that are produced by a variety of lymphoid and nonlymphoid cells and have effects at least partly within the lymphopoietic system; originally believed to be produced chiefly by and to act chiefly upon leukocytes.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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