Cytokines stimulate the production of acute-phase proteins such as C-reactive protein and mannose-binding lectin in the liver. These acute-phase proteins act as opsonins, activating complement cascades through the lectin pathway.
Some cytokines also bind mast cells and basophils, inducing them to release histamine, a proinflammatory compound. Histamine receptors are found on a variety of cells and mediate proinflammatory events, such as bronchoconstriction (tightening of the airways) and smooth muscle contraction.
In addition to histamine, mast cells may release other chemical mediators, such as leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are lipid-based proinflammatory mediators that are produced from the metabolism of arachidonic acid in the cell membrane of leukocytes and tissue cells. Compared with the proinflammatory effects of histamine, those of leukotrienes are more potent and longer lasting. Together, these chemical mediators can induce coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea, which serve to expel pathogens from the body.
Certain cytokines also stimulate the production of prostaglandins, chemical mediators that promote the inflammatory effects of kinins and histamines. Prostaglandins can also help to set the body temperature higher, leading to fever, which promotes the activities of white blood cells and slightly inhibits the growth of pathogenic microbes.
Another inflammatory mediator, bradykinin, contributes to edema, which occurs when fluids and leukocytes leak out of the bloodstream and into tissues. It binds to receptors on cells in the capillary walls, causing the capillaries to dilate and become more permeable to fluids.
Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Thi Tu, A.-H., Forster, B. M., & Lister, P. (n.d.). Microbiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/microbiology