Cytokines play a central role in modulation of immunological and physiological processes in animals under both homeostatic and abnormal conditions. Currently available information from a variety of species indicates that interleukins, interferons and tumor necrosis factor mobilize immune responses, activate inflammatory reactions and communicate with organ systems; colony stimulating factors regulate hematopoiesis and hematopoietic cell function; transforming growth factor beta affects wound healing, bone remodeling and cellular differentiation. Our understanding of cytokine biology in pigs is selective and based largely on effects of human proteins in porcine models of human diseases. However, knowledge of the nature and role of cytokines in swine immunology and physiology is increasing rapidly due to the application of molecular cloning techniques to porcine cytokines. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of porcine cytokines and focuses on biological processes in which the porcine proteins have been investigated in swine.