Immunology

VAT fat may cause pathogenic obesity

Type-2 (adult-onset) diabetes and other diseases related to the obesity epidemic depend on how the body stores excess energy, according to evolutionary biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard, emeritus scientist at the Smithsonian ...

Immunology

Gut immune cells cut inflammation in multiple sclerosis

Researchers at the University of Toronto and UC San Francisco have discovered that the intestine is the source of immune cells that reduce brain inflammation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), and that increasing the ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Negative mood signals body's immune response

Negative mood—such as sadness and anger—is associated with higher levels of inflammation and may be a signal of poor health, according to researchers at Penn State.

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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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