Acute Inflammatory Reaction

Sanna Rosengren, Department of Immunology, Gensia Inc., San Diego, California, USA

The acute inflammatory reaction constitutes the first line of defense against infection as well as the initial stage in restoring injured tissue to normalcy. Acute inflammation is recognized by redness, swelling, heat and pain in the affected area. These symptoms stem from a multitude of events taking place within the inflamed site. The humoral arm of the immune response, including circulating antibodies and the complement system, is activated. Leukocytes which normally travel within the bloodstream recognize signs of tissue in distress, adhere to and traverse the blood vessel wall and migrate toward the source of irritation. The permeability of small venules increases, leading to edema formation, and furthermore the blood flow through inflamed tissue is altered as a result of modification of arteriolar tone. Additionally, a multitude of cell types are activated to liberate various inflammatory mediators, including cytokines and arachidonic acid metabolites, which in turn can affect every aspect of inflammation mentioned above. The intricacy and complexity of the inflammatory reaction cannot be underestimated and the detrimental impact of these events on normal function is often massive.

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