Editorial: Cytokine-mediated organ dysfunction and tissue damage induced by viruses
Cytokines are small proteins, mostly secreted into the extracellular environment, that bind to specific cell surface receptors, which mediate cell differentiation, migration, growth, and death. Gene expression and cellular release of cytokines are strictly regulated to assure proper function of cells, tissues, and organs. Upon virus infection, a cell starts producing type I interferons (IFN) and inflammatory cytokines (ICs) to restrict spread and replication of the respective virus. Ideally, the virus is completely eliminated by the immune system and the antiviral mechanisms are turned off within a reasonable time frame. However, there are different scenarios where this process does not work efficiently or does not happen at all, leading to cytokine-mediated organ dysfunction and tissue damage.