In recent years, the cytokine receptors have come to demand the attention of more investigators than cytokines themselves, partly because of their remarkable characteristics, and partly because a deficiency of cytokine receptors has now been directly linked to certain debilitating immunodeficiency states. In this regard, and also because the redundancy and pleiotropy of cytokines are, in fact, a consequence of their homologous receptors, many authorities are now of the opinion that a classification of cytokine receptors would be more clinically and experimentally useful.
A classification of cytokine receptors based on their three-dimensional structure has been attempted. (Such a classification, though seemingly cumbersome, provides several unique perspectives for attractive pharmacotherapeutic targets.)
Cytokine receptors may be both membrane-bound and soluble. Soluble cytokine receptors are extremely common regulators of cytokine function. Soluble cytokine receptors typically consist of the extracellular portions of membrane-bound receptors. .