Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Defective epithelial barriers linked to 2 billion chronic diseases

Humans are exposed to a variety of toxins and chemicals every day. According to the epithelial barrier hypothesis, exposure to many of these substances damages the epithelium, the thin layer of cells that covers the surface ...

Gastroenterology

Can diet help with inflammatory bowel disease?

More than 6.8 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is believed to be the result of a malfunctioning immune system, which results in an inappropriate immune response ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Crohn's disease may be caused by immune signaling failure

People with Crohn's disease are typically treated with powerful anti-inflammatory medications that act throughout their body, not just in their digestive tract, creating the potential for unintended, and often serious, side ...

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Inflammation

Inflammation (Latin, inflamatio, to set on fire) is the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli as well as initiate the healing process for the tissue. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection. Even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection, the two are not synonymous: infection is caused by an exogenous pathogen, while inflammation is the response of the organism to the pathogen.

In the absence of inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and progressive destruction of the tissue would compromise the survival of the organism. However, an inflammation that runs unchecked can also lead to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body.

Inflammation can be classified as either 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 from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells which are present at the site of inflammation and is characterised by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

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