Medical research

Tiny bubbles can be future treatment for inflammation

Scientists hope that tiny sacs of material excreted by cells—so-called extracellular vesicles—can be used to deliver drugs inside the body. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now show that these nano-bubbles can transport ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New ways to block inflammatory cells implicated in a suite of diseases

Scientists from the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) have discovered two new ways to block inflammatory macrophages—front-line cells in our immune system that cause complications in a suite of diseases, including ...

Medications

Nutrients can mimic pharmacological effects of medicines

Nutrients can work in surprisingly similar ways as medicines. Pharmacologists from Utrecht University conclude that more knowledge of the similarities between food and medicines could help develop diets to combat diseases.

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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