One of the earliest responses of the innate immune system to infection and tissue damage is the secretion of cytokines by tissue cells, which is critical for the acute inflammatory response. Three of the most important pro-inflammatory cytokines of the innate immune system are TNF, IL-1 (which we have mentioned already several times), and IL-6 (see Table 4-4). Tissue macrophages and mast cells are the major source of these cytokines, although other cell types, including endothelial and epithelial cells, can also produce IL-1 and IL-6. We will discuss the major features of these cytokines, focusing mainly on TNF and IL-1, before describing their role in acute inflammation.
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