Problem

Inflammation


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Nature:

Inflammation (from Latin: inflammatio) is part of the biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. The five cardinal signs are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function (Latin calor, dolor, rubor, tumor, and functio laesa).

Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore is considered a mechanism of innate immunity, whereas adaptive immunity is specific to each pathogen.

Inflammation is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out damaged cells and tissues, and initiate tissue repair. Too little inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus (e.g. bacteria) and compromise the survival of the organism. However inflammation can also have negative effects. Too much inflammation, in the form of chronic inflammation, is associated with various diseases, such as hay fever, periodontal disease, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis.

Inflammation can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli, and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (in particular granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A series of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells in the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation, such as mononuclear cells, and involves simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue.

Inflammation has also been classified as Type 1 and Type 2 based on the type of cytokines and helper T cells (Th1 and Th2) involved.

The term inflammation is not a synonym for infection. Infection describes the interaction between the action of microbial invasion and the reaction of the body's inflammatory response—the two components are considered together in discussion of infection, and the word is used to imply a microbial invasive cause for the observed inflammatory reaction. Inflammation, on the other hand, describes just the body's immunovascular response, regardless of cause. But, because of the two are often correlated, words ending in the suffix -itis (which means inflammation) are sometimes informally described as referring to infection: for example, the word urethritis strictly means only "urethral inflammation", but clinical health care providers usually discuss urethritis as a urethral infection because urethral microbial invasion is the most common cause of urethritis.

However, the inflammation–infection distinction is crucial in situations in pathology and medical diagnosis that involve inflammation that is not driven by microbial invasion, such as cases of atherosclerosis, trauma, ischemia, and autoimmune diseases (including type III hypersensitivity).

Strategies:
Reducing inflammation
Subject(s):
Medicine Physiology
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
07.03.2022 – 18:39 CET