Cause of inflammation

While a classical immune response can elicit acute inflammation, both through antibody-antigen complex formation and through activation by cytokines secreted by T cell activated macrophages, the focus of this entry will be on effector cells such as neutrophils and endothelial cells. Signs of acute inflammation are seen in connection with infection by various pathogens, but tissue injury induced by physical, chemical or thermal means, without infection of foreign bodies per se, will also induce an inflammatory response. Additionally, a host of mediators, some of them listed in Table 1, will induce inflammation upon injection.

A particularly important clinical problem is the inflammatory response followed by tissue injury which is associated with ischemia/reperfusion situations such as myocardial infarction, stroke or transplantation of organs. Another example of an inflammatory response gone awry is the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) sometimes seen in connection with systemic infection, extensive burns, ischemia, trauma or hemorrhagic shock. These conditions highlight the importance of understanding the inflammatory reaction for the purpose of adequate clinical intervention.

Table 1 Some inflammatory mediators and their actions in vivo

Mediator

Neutrophil

Edema

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