Inflammation (from la|inflammatio
) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogen
s, damaged cells, or irritants,
and is a protective response involving immune cells
, blood vessels
, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.
The five cardinal signs
are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function
(Latin ''calor'', ''dolor'', ''rubor'', ''tumor'', and ''functio laesa''). Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity
, as compared to adaptive immunity
, which is specific for each pathogen.
Too little inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus (e.g. bacteria) and compromise the survival of the organism. In contrast, chronic inflammation is associated with various diseases, such as hay fever
, periodontal disease
, and osteoarthritis
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
s (especially granulocyte
s) from the blood into the injured tissues. A series 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 present at the site of inflammation, such as mononuclear cells
, and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing
of the tissue from the inflammatory process.
Inflammation is not a synonym for infection
. Infection describes the interaction between the action of microbial invasion and the reaction of the body's inflammatory response—the two components are considered together when discussing an infection, and the word is used to imply a microbial invasive cause for the observed inflammatory reaction. Inflammation, on the other hand, describes purely the body's immunovascular response, whatever the cause may be. But because of how often the two are correlated
, words ending in the suffix ''-itis
'' (which refers to inflammation) are sometimes informally described as referring to infection. For example, the word ''urethritis
'' strictly means only "urethral inflammation", but clinical health care provider
s usually discuss urethritis as a urethral infection because urethral microbial invasion is the most common cause of urethritis.
It is useful to differentiate between inflammation and infection because there are typical situations in pathology
and medical diagnosis
where inflammation is not driven by microbial invasion – for example, atherosclerosis
, and autoimmune diseases
including type III hypersensitivity
Acute inflammation occurs immediately upon injury, lasting only a few days.
s and chemokine
s promote the migration of neutrophil
s and macrophage
s to the site of inflammation.
Pathogens, allergens, toxins, burns, and frostbite are some of the causes of acute inflammation.
s (TLRs) recognize microbial pathogens.
Acute inflammation can be a way tissues are protected from injury.
Inflammation lasting 2-6 weeks is designated subacute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is inflammation that lasts for months or years.
, and plasma cells
predominate in chronic inflammation, in contrast to the neutrophils that predominate in acute inflammation.
, cardiovascular disease
, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) are examples of diseases mediated by chronic inflammation.
Obesity, smoking, stress, and poor diet are some of the factors that promote chronic inflammation.
A 2014 study reported that 60% of Americans had at least one chronic inflammatory condition, whereas 42% had more than one.
Acute inflammation is a short-term process, usually appearing within a few minutes or hours and begins to cease upon the removal of the injurious stimulus.
It involves a coordinated and systemic mobilization response locally of various immune, endocrine and neurological mediators of acute inflammation. In a normal healthy response, it becomes activated, clears the pathogen and begins a repair process and then ceases. It is characterized by five cardinal signs
The traditional names for signs of inflammation come from Latin:
* Calor (heat
* Tumor (swelling
* Functio laesa
(loss of function)
The first four (classical signs) were described by Celsus
(ca. 30 BC–38 AD), while ''loss of function'' was probably added later by Galen
However, the addition of this fifth sign has also been ascribed to Thomas Sydenham
Redness and heat are due to increased blood flow at body core temperature to the inflamed site; swelling is caused by accumulation of fluid; pain
is due to the release of chemicals such as bradykinin and histamine that stimulate nerve endings. Loss of function has multiple causes.
Acute inflammation of the lung (usually caused in response to pneumonia
) does not cause pain unless the inflammation involves the parietal pleura
, which does have pain-sensitive nerve endings
Process of acute inflammation
The process of acute inflammation is initiated by resident immune cells already present in the involved tissue, mainly resident macrophages
, dendritic cells
, Kupffer cells
and mast cell
s. These cells possess surface receptors known as ''pattern recognition receptor
s'' (PRRs), which recognize (i.e., bind) two subclasses of molecules: pathogen-associated molecular pattern
s (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular pattern
s (DAMPs). PAMPs are compounds that are associated with various pathogen
s, but which are distinguishable from host molecules. DAMPs are compounds that are associated with host-related injury and cell damage.
At the onset of an infection, burn, or other injuries, these cells undergo activation (one of the PRRs recognize a PAMP or DAMP) and release inflammatory mediators responsible for the clinical signs of inflammation. Vasodilation and its resulting increased blood flow causes the redness (''rubor'') and increased heat (''calor''). Increased permeability of the blood vessels results in an exudation (leakage) of plasma
proteins and fluid into the tissue (edema
), which manifests itself as swelling (''tumor''). Some of the released mediators such as bradykinin
increase the sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia
, ''dolor''). The mediator molecules also alter the blood vessels to permit the migration of leukocytes, mainly neutrophils
, outside of the blood vessels (extravasation) into the tissue. The neutrophils migrate along a chemotactic
gradient created by the local cells to reach the site of injury.
The loss of function (''functio laesa'') is probably the result of a neurological reflex in response to pain.
In addition to cell-derived mediators, several acellular biochemical cascade systems consisting of preformed plasma proteins act in parallel to initiate and propagate the inflammatory response. These include the complement system
activated by bacteria and the coagulation
and fibrinolysis system
s activated by necrosis
, e.g. a burn or a trauma.
Acute inflammation may be regarded as the first line of defense against injury. Acute inflammatory response requires constant stimulation to be sustained. Inflammatory mediators are short-lived and are quickly degraded in the tissue. Hence, acute inflammation begins to cease once the stimulus has been removed.
Vasodilation and increased permeability
As defined, acute inflammation is an immunovascular response to an inflammatory stimulus. This means acute inflammation can be broadly divided into a vascular phase that occurs first, followed by a cellular phase involving immune cells (more specifically myeloid granulocytes
in the acute setting). The vascular component of acute inflammation involves the movement of plasma fluid
, containing important protein
s such as fibrin
), into inflamed tissue.
Upon contact with PAMPs, tissue macrophages
release vasoactive amines such as histamine
, as well as eicosanoids
such as prostaglandin E2
and leukotriene B4
to remodel the local vasculature. Macrophages and endothelial cells release nitric oxide
. These mediators vasodilate and permeabilize the blood vessel
s, which results in the net distribution of blood plasma
from the vessel into the tissue space. The increased collection of fluid into the tissue causes it to swell (edema
). This exuded tissue fluid contains various antimicrobial mediators from the plasma such as complement
, which can immediately deal damage to microbes, and opsonise the microbes in preparation for the cellular phase. If the inflammatory stimulus is a lacerating wound, exuded platelet
s can clot
the wounded area and provide haemostasis
in the first instance. These clotting mediators also provide a structural staging framework at the inflammatory tissue site in the form of a fibrin
lattice – as would construction scaffolding
at a construction site – for the purpose of aiding phagocytic debridement and wound repair
later on. Some of the exuded tissue fluid is also funnelled by lymphatics
to the regional lymph nodes, flushing bacteria along to start the recognition and attack phase of the adaptive immune system
Acute inflammation is characterized by marked vascular changes, including vasodilation
, increased permeability and increased blood flow, which are induced by the actions of various inflammatory mediators. Vasodilation occurs first at the arteriole
level, progressing to the capillary
level, and brings about a net increase in the amount of blood present, causing the redness and heat of inflammation. Increased permeability of the vessels results in the movement of plasma
into the tissues, with resultant stasis
due to the increase in the concentration of the cells within blood – a condition characterized by enlarged vessels packed with cells. Stasis allows leukocytes
to marginate (move) along the endothelium
, a process critical to their recruitment into the tissues. Normal flowing blood prevents this, as the shearing force
along the periphery of the vessels moves cells in the blood into the middle of the vessel.
Plasma cascade systems
* The complement system
, when activated, creates a cascade of chemical reactions that promotes opsonization
, and agglutination
, and produces the MAC
* The kinin system
generates proteins capable of sustaining vasodilation and other physical inflammatory effects.
* The coagulation system
or ''clotting cascade'', which forms a protective protein mesh over sites of injury.
* The fibrinolysis system
, which acts in opposition to the ''coagulation system'', to counterbalance clotting and generate several other inflammatory mediators.
The ''cellular component'' involves leukocyte
s, which normally reside in blood and must move into the inflamed tissue via ''extravasation'' to aid in inflammation. Some act as phagocyte
s, ingesting bacteria
, viruses, and cellular debris. Others release enzymatic granules
that damage pathogenic invaders. Leukocytes also release inflammatory mediators that develop and maintain the inflammatory response. In general, acute inflammation is mediated by granulocyte
s, whereas chronic inflammation is mediated by mononuclear cells such as monocyte
s and lymphocyte
s, particularly neutrophils, are critically involved in the initiation and maintenance of inflammation. These cells must be able to move to the site of injury from their usual location in the blood, therefore mechanisms exist to recruit and direct leukocytes to the appropriate place. The process of leukocyte movement from the blood to the tissues through the blood vessels is known as ''extravasation'', and can be broadly divided up into a number of steps:
# Leukocyte margination and endothelial adhesion: The white blood cells within the vessels which are generally centrally located move peripherally towards the walls of the vessels.
Activated macrophages in the tissue release cytokines
such as IL-1
, which in turn leads to production of chemokine
s that bind to proteoglycan
s forming gradient in the inflamed tissue and along the endothelial
wall. Inflammatory cytokines induce the immediate expression of P-selectin
on endothelial cell surfaces and P-selectin binds weakly to carbohydrate ligands on the surface of leukocytes and causes them to "roll" along the endothelial surface as bonds are made and broken. Cytokines released from injured cells induce the expression of E-selectin
on endothelial cells, which functions similarly to P-selectin. Cytokines also induce the expression of integrin
ligands such as ICAM-1
on endothelial cells, which mediate the adhesion and further slow leukocytes down. These weakly bound leukocytes are free to detach if not activated by chemokines produced in injured tissue after signal transduction
via respective G protein-coupled receptors
that activates integrins on the leukocyte surface for firm adhesion. Such activation increases the affinity of bound integrin receptors for ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 on the endothelial cell surface, firmly binding the leukocytes to the endothelium.
# Migration across the endothelium, known as'' transmigration, ''via the process of diapedesis
: Chemokine gradients stimulate the adhered leukocytes to move between adjacent endothelial cells. The endothelial cells retract and the leukocytes pass through the basement membrane into the surrounding tissue using adhesion molecules such as ICAM-1.
# Movement of leukocytes within the tissue via chemotaxis
: Leukocytes reaching the tissue interstitium bind to extracellular matrix
proteins via expressed integrins and CD44
to prevent them from leaving the site. A variety of molecules behave as chemoattractant
s, for example, C3a or C5, and cause the leukocytes to move along a chemotactic gradient towards the source of inflammation.
Extravasated neutrophils in the cellular phase come into contact with microbes at the inflamed tissue. Phagocyte
s express cell-surface endocytic pattern recognition receptors
(PRRs) that have affinity and efficacy against non-specific microbe-associated molecular patterns
(PAMPs). Most PAMPs that bind to endocytic PRRs and initiate phagocytosis
are cell wall components, including complex carbohydrates such as mannans
, and surface proteins. Endocytic PRRs on phagocytes reflect these molecular patterns, with C-type lectin
receptors binding to mannans and β-glucans, and scavenger receptor
s binding to LPS.
Upon endocytic PRR binding, actin
rearrangement adjacent to the plasma membrane occurs in a way that endocytoses the plasma membrane containing the PRR-PAMP complex, and the microbe. Phosphatidylinositol
signalling pathways have been implicated to traffic the endocytosed phagosome to intracellular lysosomes
, where fusion of the phagosome and the lysosome produces a phagolysosome. The reactive oxygen species
bleach within the phagolysosomes then kill microbes inside the phagocyte.
Phagocytic efficacy can be enhanced by opsonization
. Plasma derived complement C3b
and antibodies that exude into the inflamed tissue during the vascular phase bind to and coat the microbial antigens. As well as endocytic PRRs, phagocytes also express opsonin
receptors Fc receptor
and complement receptor 1
(CR1), which bind to antibodies and C3b, respectively. The co-stimulation of endocytic PRR and opsonin receptor increases the efficacy of the phagocytic process, enhancing the lysosomal
elimination of the infective agent.
Specific patterns of acute and chronic inflammation are seen during particular situations that arise in the body, such as when inflammation occurs on an epithelial
surface, or pyogenic
bacteria are involved.
* Granulomatous inflammation: Characterised by the formation of granuloma
s, they are the result of a limited but diverse number of diseases, which include among others tuberculosis
, and syphilis
* Fibrinous inflammation: Inflammation resulting in a large increase in vascular permeability allows fibrin
to pass through the blood vessels. If an appropriate ''procoagulative'' stimulus is present, such as cancer cells,
a fibrinous exudate is deposited. This is commonly seen in serous cavities
, where the conversion of fibrinous exudate into a scar can occur between serous membranes, limiting their function. The deposit sometimes forms a pseudomembrane sheet. During inflammation of the intestine (Pseudomembranous colitis
), pseudomembranous tubes can be formed.
* Purulent inflammation: Inflammation resulting in large amount of pus
, which consists of neutrophils, dead cells, and fluid. Infection by pyogenic bacteria such as staphylococci
is characteristic of this kind of inflammation. Large, localised collections of pus enclosed by surrounding tissues are called abscess
* Serous inflammation: Characterised by the copious effusion of non-viscous serous fluid, commonly produced by mesothelial
cells of serous membrane
s, but may be derived from blood plasma. Skin blister
s exemplify this pattern of inflammation.
* Ulcerative inflammation: Inflammation occurring near an epithelium can result in the necrotic
loss of tissue from the surface, exposing lower layers. The subsequent excavation in the epithelium is known as an ulcer
thumb|209x209px|Colitis (inflammation of the colon) caused by Crohn's Disease.
Inflammatory abnormalities are a large group of disorders that underlie a vast variety of human diseases. The immune system is often involved with inflammatory disorders, demonstrated in both allergic reaction
s and some myopathies
, with many immune system disorder
s resulting in abnormal inflammation. Non-immune diseases with causal origins in inflammatory processes include cancer, atherosclerosis
, and ischemic heart disease
Examples of disorders associated with inflammation include:
* Acne vulgaris
* Autoimmune disease
* Autoinflammatory disease
* Celiac disease
* Chronic prostatitis
* Familial Mediterranean Fever
* Hidradenitis suppurativa
* Inflammatory bowel disease
* Interstitial cystitis
* Lichen planus
* Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
* Pelvic inflammatory disease
* Reperfusion injury
* Rheumatic fever
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Transplant rejection
Atherosclerosis, formerly considered a bland lipid storage disease, actually involves an ongoing inflammatory response. Recent advances in basic science have established a fundamental role for inflammation in mediating all stages of this disease from initiation through progression and, ultimately, the thrombotic complications of atherosclerosis. These new findings provide important links between risk factors and the mechanisms of atherogenesis. Clinical studies have shown that this emerging biology of inflammation in atherosclerosis applies directly to human patients. Elevation in markers of inflammation predicts outcomes of patients with acute coronary syndromes, independently of myocardial damage. In addition, low-grade chronic inflammation, as indicated by levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein
, prospectively defines risk of atherosclerotic complications, thus adding to prognostic information provided by traditional risk factors. Moreover, certain treatments that reduce coronary risk also limit inflammation. In the case of lipid lowering with statins, this anti-inflammatory effect does not appear to correlate with reduction in low-density lipoprotein levels. These new insights into inflammation in atherosclerosis not only increase our understanding of this disease but also have practical clinical applications in risk stratification and targeting of therapy for this scourge of growing worldwide importance.
An allergic reaction, formally known as type 1 hypersensitivity
, is the result of an inappropriate immune response triggering inflammation, vasodilation, and nerve irritation. A common example is hay fever
, which is caused by a hypersensitive response by mast cell
s to allergen
s. Pre-sensitised mast cells respond by degranulating
, releasing vasoactive
chemicals such as histamine. These chemicals propagate an excessive inflammatory response characterised by blood vessel dilation, production of pro-inflammatory molecules, cytokine release, and recruitment of leukocytes.
Severe inflammatory response may mature into a systemic response known as anaphylaxis
Inflammatory myopathies are caused by the immune system inappropriately attacking components of muscle, leading to signs of muscle inflammation. They may occur in conjunction with other immune disorders, such as systemic sclerosis
, and include dermatomyositis
, and inclusion body myositis
Due to the central role of leukocytes in the development and propagation of inflammation, defects in leukocyte functionality often result in a decreased capacity for inflammatory defense with subsequent vulnerability to infection.
Dysfunctional leukocytes may be unable to correctly bind to blood vessels due to surface receptor mutations, digest bacteria (Chédiak–Higashi syndrome
), or produce microbicide
s (chronic granulomatous disease
). In addition, diseases affecting the bone marrow
may result in abnormal or few leukocytes.
Certain drugs or exogenous chemical compounds are known to affect inflammation. Vitamin A
deficiency causes an increase in inflammatory responses, and anti-inflammatory
drugs work specifically by inhibiting the enzymes that produce inflammatory eicosanoids
. Certain illicit drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy may exert some of their detrimental effects by activating transcription factors intimately involved with inflammation (e.g. NF-κB
Inflammation orchestrates the microenvironment around tumours, contributing to proliferation, survival and migration. Cancer cells use selectins
and their receptors for invasion, migration and metastasis. On the other hand, many cells of the immune system contribute to cancer immunology
, suppressing cancer.
Molecular intersection between receptors of steroid hormones, which have important effects on cellular development, and transcription factors that play key roles in inflammation, such as NF-κB
, may mediate some of the most critical effects of inflammatory stimuli on cancer cells.
This capacity of a mediator of inflammation to influence the effects of steroid hormones in cells, is very likely to affect carcinogenesis on the one hand; on the other hand, due to the modular nature of many steroid hormone receptors, this interaction may offer ways to interfere with cancer progression, through targeting of a specific protein domain in a specific cell type. Such an approach may limit side effects that are unrelated to the tumor of interest, and may help preserve vital homeostatic functions and developmental processes in the organism.
According to a review of 2009, recent data suggests that cancer-related inflammation (CRI) may lead to accumulation of random genetic alterations in cancer cells.
Role in cancer
In 1863, Rudolf Virchow hypothesized that the origin of cancer was at sites of chronic inflammation.
At present, chronic inflammation is estimated to contribute to approximately 15% to 25% of human cancers.
Mediators and DNA damage in cancer
An inflammatory mediator is a messenger that acts on blood vessels and/or cells to promote an inflammatory response.
Inflammatory mediators that contribute to neoplasia include prostaglandin
s, inflammatory cytokine
s such as IL-1β
s such as IL-8
These inflammatory mediators, and others, orchestrate an environment that fosters proliferation and survival.
Inflammation also causes DNA damages due to the induction of reactive oxygen species
(ROS) by various intracellular inflammatory mediators.
In addition, leukocytes
and other phagocytic cells
attracted to the site of inflammation induce DNA damages in proliferating cells through their generation of ROS and reactive nitrogen species
(RNS). ROS and RNS are normally produced by these cells to fight infection.
ROS, alone, cause more than 20 types of DNA damage.
Oxidative DNA damages cause both mutation
and epigenetic alterations.
RNS also cause mutagenic DNA damages.
A normal cell may undergo carcinogenesis
to become a cancer cell if it is frequently subjected to DNA damage during long periods of chronic inflammation. DNA damages may cause genetic mutation
s due to inaccurate repair
. In addition, mistakes in the DNA repair process may cause epigenetic
Mutations and epigenetic alterations that are replicated and provide a selective advantage during somatic cell proliferation may be carcinogenic.
Genome-wide analyses of human cancer tissues reveal that a single typical cancer cell may possess roughly 100 mutations in coding region
s, 10-20 of which are “driver mutations”
that contribute to cancer development.
However, chronic inflammation also causes epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation
s, that are often more common than mutations. Typically, several hundreds to thousands of genes are methylated in a cancer cell (see DNA methylation in cancer
). Sites of oxidative damage in chromatin
can recruit complexes that contain DNA methyltransferase
s (DNMTs), a histone deacetylase (SIRT1
), and a histone methyltransferase (EZH2)
, and thus induce DNA methylation.
DNA methylation of a CpG island
in a promoter region
may cause silencing of its downstream gene (see CpG site
and regulation of transcription in cancer
). DNA repair genes, in particular, are frequently inactivated by methylation in various cancers (see hypermethylation of DNA repair genes in cancer
). A 2018 report
evaluated the relative importance of mutations and epigenetic alterations in progression to two different types of cancer. This report showed that epigenetic alterations were much more important than mutations in generating gastric cancers (associated with inflammation).
However, mutations and epigenetic alterations were of roughly equal importance in generating esophageal squamous cell cancers (associated with tobacco chemicals
, a product of alcohol metabolism).
HIV and AIDS
It has long been recognized that infection with HIV is characterized not only by development of profound immunodeficiency but also by sustained inflammation and immune activation.
A substantial body of evidence implicates chronic inflammation as a critical driver of immune dysfunction, premature appearance of aging-related diseases, and immune deficiency.
Many now regard HIV infection not only as an evolving virus-induced immunodeficiency but also as chronic inflammatory disease. Even after the introduction of effective antiretroviral therapy
(ART) and effective suppression of viremia in HIV-infected individuals, chronic inflammation persists. Animal studies also support the relationship between immune activation and progressive cellular immune deficiency: SIV
sm infection of its natural nonhuman primate hosts, the sooty mangabey
, causes high-level viral replication but limited evidence of disease. This lack of pathogenicity is accompanied by a lack of inflammation, immune activation and cellular proliferation. In sharp contrast, experimental SIV
sm infection of rhesus macaque
produces immune activation and AIDS-like disease with many parallels to human HIV infection.
Delineating how CD4 T cells are depleted and how chronic inflammation and immune activation are induced lies at the heart of understanding HIV pathogenesis––one of the top priorities for HIV research by the Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health
. Recent studies demonstrated that caspase-1
, a highly inflammatory form of programmed cell death, drives CD4 T-cell depletion and inflammation by HIV.
These are the two signature events that propel HIV disease progression to AIDS
. Pyroptosis appears to create a pathogenic vicious cycle in which dying CD4 T cells and other immune cells (including macrophages and neutrophils) release inflammatory signals that recruit more cells into the infected lymphoid tissues to die. The feed-forward nature of this inflammatory response produces chronic inflammation and tissue injury. Identifying pyroptosis as the predominant mechanism that causes CD4 T-cell depletion and chronic inflammation, provides novel therapeutic opportunities, namely caspase-1 which controls the pyroptotic pathway. In this regard, pyroptosis of CD4 T cells and secretion of pro-inflmammatory cytokines such as IL-1β
can be blocked in HIV-infected human lymphoid tissues by addition of the caspase-1 inhibitor VX-765,
which has already proven to be safe and well tolerated in phase II human clinical trials. These findings could propel development of an entirely new class of “anti-AIDS” therapies that act by targeting the host rather than the virus. Such agents would almost certainly be used in combination with ART. By promoting “tolerance” of the virus instead of suppressing its replication, VX-765 or related drugs may mimic the evolutionary solutions occurring in multiple monkey hosts (e.g. the sooty mangabey) infected with species-specific lentiviruses that have led to a lack of disease, no decline in CD4 T-cell counts, and no chronic inflammation.
Resolution of inflammation
The inflammatory response must be actively terminated when no longer needed to prevent unnecessary "bystander" damage to tissues.
Failure to do so results in chronic inflammation, and cellular destruction. Resolution of inflammation occurs by different mechanisms in different tissues.
Mechanisms that serve to terminate inflammation include:
Connection to depression
There is evidence for a link between inflammation and depression
. Inflammatory processes can be triggered by negative cognitions or their consequences, such as stress, violence, or deprivation. Thus, negative cognitions can cause inflammation that can, in turn, lead to depression.
In addition there is increasing evidence that inflammation can cause depression because of the increase of cytokines, setting the brain into a "sickness mode". Classical symptoms of being physically sick like lethargy show a large overlap in behaviors that characterize depression. Levels of cytokines tend to increase sharply during the depressive episodes of people with bipolar disorder and drop off during remission. Furthermore, it has been shown in clinical trials that anti-inflammatory medicines taken in addition to antidepressants not only significantly improves symptoms but also increases the proportion of subjects positively responding to treatment.
Inflammations that lead to serious depression could be caused by common infections such as those caused by a virus, bacteria or even parasites.
An infectious organism
can escape the confines of the immediate tissue via the circulatory system
or lymphatic system
, where it may spread to other parts of the body. If an organism is not contained by the actions of acute inflammation it may gain access to the lymphatic system via nearby lymph vessel
s. An infection of the lymph vessels is known as lymphangitis
, and infection of a lymph node is known as lymphadenitis
. When lymph nodes cannot destroy all pathogens, the infection spreads further. A pathogen can gain access to the bloodstream through lymphatic drainage into the circulatory system.
When inflammation overwhelms the host, systemic inflammatory response syndrome
is diagnosed. When it is due to infection
, the term sepsis
is applied, with the terms bacteremia
being applied specifically for bacterial sepsis and viremia
specifically to viral sepsis. Vasodilation
and organ dysfunction are serious problems associated with widespread infection that may lead to septic shock
Inflammation also induces high systemic levels of acute-phase protein
s. In acute inflammation, these proteins prove beneficial; however, in chronic inflammation they can contribute to amyloidosis
These proteins include C-reactive protein
, serum amyloid A
, and serum amyloid P
, which cause a range of systemic effects including:
* Increased blood pressure
* Decreased sweating
* Loss of appetite
Inflammation often affects the numbers of leukocytes present in the body:
is often seen during inflammation induced by infection, where it results in a large increase in the amount of leukocytes in the blood, especially immature cells. Leukocyte numbers usually increase to between 15 000 and 20 000 cells per microliter, but extreme cases can see it approach 100 000 cells per microliter.
Bacterial infection usually results in an increase of neutrophil
s, creating neutrophilia
, whereas diseases such as asthma
, hay fever
, and parasite infestation result in an increase in eosinophil
s, creating eosinophilia
can be induced by certain infections and diseases, including viral infection, ''Rickettsia
'' infection, some protozoa
, and some cancer
Systemic inflammation and obesity
With the discovery of interleukin
s (IL), the concept of systemic inflammation
developed. Although the processes involved are identical to tissue inflammation, systemic inflammation is not confined to a particular tissue but involves the endothelium
and other organ systems.
Chronic inflammation is widely observed in obesity
Obese people commonly have many elevated markers of inflammation, including:
* IL-6 (Interleukin-6)
Low-grade chronic inflammation
is characterized by a two- to threefold increase in the systemic concentrations of cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-6, and CRP. Waist circumference correlates significantly with systemic inflammatory response.
Loss of white adipose tissue
reduces levels of inflammation markers.
The association of systemic inflammation with insulin resistance
and type 2 diabetes
, and with atherosclerosis
is under preliminary research, although rigorous clinical trial
s have not been conducted to confirm such relationships.
(CRP) is generated at a higher level in obese people, and may increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases
The outcome in a particular circumstance will be determined by the tissue in which the injury has occurred and the injurious agent that is causing it. Here are the possible outcomes to inflammation:
The complete restoration of the inflamed tissue back to a normal status. Inflammatory measures such as vasodilation, chemical production, and leukocyte infiltration cease, and damaged parenchyma
l cells regenerate. In situations where limited or short-lived inflammation has occurred this is usually the outcome.
Large amounts of tissue destruction, or damage in tissues unable to regenerate, cannot be regenerated completely by the body. Fibrous scarring
occurs in these areas of damage, forming a scar composed primarily of collagen
. The scar will not contain any specialized structures, such as parenchyma
l cells, hence functional impairment may occur.
# Abscess formation
A cavity is formed containing pus, an opaque liquid containing dead white blood cells and bacteria with general debris from destroyed cells.
# Chronic inflammation
In acute inflammation, if the injurious agent persists then chronic inflammation will ensue. This process, marked by inflammation lasting many days, months or even years, may lead to the formation of a chronic wound
. Chronic inflammation is characterised by the dominating presence of macrophages in the injured tissue. These cells are powerful defensive agents of the body, but the toxin
s they release (including reactive oxygen species
) are injurious to the organism's own tissues as well as invading agents. As a consequence, chronic inflammation is almost always accompanied by tissue destruction.
Inflammation is usually indicated by adding the suffix "itis
", as shown below. However, some conditions such as asthma
do not follow this convention. More examples are available at list of types of inflammation
File:Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis, gross pathology 33 lores.jpg|Acute infective meningitis