The body has an internal defense system called the immune system. The body's immune system is like the DOD (Department of Defense), collecting intelligence, building and maintaining a fighting force. The body's immune system rallies the immune cells, creating all manner of defense cells, (T-cells, etc.,) to protect the integrity of your body.
The cytokines are an integral part of your body's immune DOD and they create an army to fight to keep you alive.
What happens whem your body's DOD -- cytokine recruiters build an army that's too large? The body's own immune DOD attacks itself! Your body turns against itself, your body creates its owna terrorists.
A young and healthy organism has more capacity to fight disease because it has a greater capacity to create the cellular-warriors to fight disease. A young and healthy body has MORE cytokines!
Why would too much of a good thing, cytokines - to fight the flu, be a problem? Normally, it would not. However, when it is activated as in an autoimmune responsea, the army of disease fighting cells stops distinquishing between the invader-flu-virus and the cells of the body.
In autoimmune diseases the body has too many immune cells. It may be that the H1N1 is like autoimmune disease in that too many cytokines are created and end up attacking the body they are supposed to defend.
Here's the wiki on "cytokine storm" http://en.wikipedia.org/...
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