Serum Levels of Thrombopoietin in Health and Disease

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The history of measuring cytokine levels in serum and plasma is relatively short (10–15 years). There is increasing interest in being able to quantitate circulating cytokine levels, since these molecules may play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases. Additionally, the rapid increase in the use of cytokines and cytokine antagonists as therapeutic agents has increased the need for sensitive and reliable assay systems. The development of cytokines for therapeutic use may require not only monitoring of the agent administered, but also monitoring of the levels of induced endogenous cytokines. The interdependence of cytokines in the immune and inflammatory systems and their ability to stimulate secretion of other members of specific cytokine cascades suggest the possibilities of similar interactions between the hemopoietic cytokines (1,2).