Immunology

A new regulator of B cell development

Interleukin-33 (IL-33) drives inflammatory responses in allergic and nonallergic disease. Epithelial cells in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and elsewhere release IL-33, which activates the ST2 receptor on immune cell ...

Inflammatory disorders

Two new studies evaluate agents for treating ulcerative colitis

In the first clinical trial to evaluate two biologic therapies for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) head to head, Mount Sinai researchers found vedolizumab to be superior to adalimumab in a variety of measures. ...

Immunology

Teenage acne may be a natural, transient inflammatory state

Adolescent acne does not always result in a pathological condition; rather, it may be a natural, transient inflammatory state occurring when the maturing facial skin is exposed to new microbes and enhanced production of an ...

Immunology

Extinct human species gave modern humans an immunity boost

Findings from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research show modern humans acquired a gene variant from Denisovans that heightened their immune reactions, indicating adaptation of the immune system to a changing environment.

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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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