The key difference between cytokines and hormones is that the cytokines are small proteins while hormones can be proteins, steroids, amino acid derivatives, fatty acid derivatives, etc.
Cytokines and hormones are chemicals found in our body, which act as chemical messengers. Hence, they mainly involve in the intracellular communication. Therefore, they mediate their actions by binding with a receptor and activating cellular responses. Further, the endocrine glands synthesize and secrete hormones. In contrast, cytokines are not synthesized by glands. Immune cells and non-immune cells produce cytokines.
What are Cytokines?
Cytokines are a group of small proteins that involve cell communication, especially in innate and adaptive immune systems. The size of these molecules is approximate 50kDa. Immune cells such as B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, mast cells, etc. and non-immune cells such as endothelial cells, fibroblasts, stromal cells, etc. synthesize and secrete cytokines. There are cytokines binding receptors.
Moreover, cytokines bind to receptors and carry out immune responses and other functions such as cell growth, cell differentiation, etc. They mainly act as mediators and regulators of immune processes. Hence they can be considered as signalling molecules as well. However, cytokines play a major role in the immune system’s defence against disease-causing organisms. Out body produces several types of cytokines such as colony stimulating factors, growth and differentiation factors, immunoregulatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines, etc. Presently, cytokines are used as biological response modifiers to treat various disorders.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are a kind of regulatory biochemicals produced by glands of our body. Major glands that synthesize hormones are pituitary, thymus, pineal, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, etc. These biochemicals can be proteins, steroids, amino acid derivatives, fatty acid derivatives, etc. When glands secrete hormones, they come to the blood system and circulate to the target place via the circulatory system. Hormones coordinate physiology and behaviour. They can change the different physiological reactions of our body such as reproduction, homeostasis, development, storage and secretion, digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, transport, recognition, biosynthesis, etc.
Furthermore, hormones are two major types; water soluble and fat soluble similar to vitamins. Water soluble hormones transport through the circulatory system while fat-soluble hormones such as steroid and thyroid hormones need carrier proteins to distribution.
What are the Similarities Between Cytokines and Hormones?
- Cytokines and some hormones are proteins.
- Both are involved with the cell communication.
- Cytokines and Hormones act as chemical messengers.
- They travel through the blood.
- Cytokines and Hormones bind with receptors and elicit their actions.
- Both are essential for almost all activities occur in our body.
What is the Difference Between Cytokines and Hormones?
Cytokines and hormones are the essential chemical messengers of our body. Cytokines are low molecular weight proteins while hormones are proteins, steroids, amino acid derivatives, etc. This is the key difference between cytokines and hormones. Furthermore, the endocrine glands synthesize and secrete hormones while the immune cells and non-immune cells produce cytokines. Also, both involve in the intracellular communication within our body.
The below infographic presents the difference between cytokines and hormones in tabular form.
Summary – Cytokines vs Hormones
Cytokines and hormones are chemical messengers in our body that involve in intracellular communication. Cytokines are small proteins that are responsible for immune responses and work against infections. Immune cells and non-immune cells involved in the production of cytokines. On the other hand, hormones are biochemical molecules secreted by endocrine glands. They secrete and transport via the circulatory system. They are essential for many kinds of activities such as digestion, metabolisms, growth, reproduction, mood control etc. This is the difference between cytokines and hormones.