Inflammation is one of the first immune system responses mounted against a pathogenic invader or in response to injury. Chronic inflammation from inflammatory bowel disease can result in scarring of the intestinal tract and malnutrition.
Inflammatory responses neutralize invading antigens and toxins and help repair damaged tissues. Some molecules are released throughout the body (systemically) and some are released at the site of the infection/injury (localized). Immune cells also respond. Blood vessels enlarge and become "leaky" causing the surrounding area to become swollen and may also be red, warm to the touch and painful.
Although inflammation is initially early-onset, the inflammatory reaction can be maintained for long periods of time, chronic inflammation.
Acute Inflammatory Reaction
In the Acute Inflammatory Response, also called the Innate Immune Response, the body quickly attempts to neutralize and remove infectious agents in a non-specific manner. Since this response is shortly after the infectious agent is detected, the immune system does not have the time to produce a more specific immune response.
The Acute Inflammatory Response is comprised of the following non-specific immune processes:
- The body makes an attempt to increase blood flow and immune factors to the site of infection (or injury).
- Blood vessels become slightly "leaky" so immune factors can enter infected tissue more easily.
- Immune cells called Leukocytes (Neutrophils) are attracted to the area and;
- Leukocytes release factors to augment the immune response called cytokines
- Phagocytic leukocytes will phagocytize, or eat, the infecting microorganisms.
- The microorganism is then digested by fusion with cell Lysosomes
- The biochemical complement cascade is activated
- Eicosanoids are produced
- Cytokines, Complement and Eicosanoids can act locally, at the site of infection, or systemically, throughout the body.
Chronic Inflammatory Reaction
Chronic inflammation can result from an inability of the acute immune response to effectively clear the infectious agent or to heal the wound or may be the result of autoimmune disease.
- In chronic inflammatory disease, Lymphocytes and Monocytess are the primary immune-responsive cell type recruited to the area.
- Chronic inflammation can cause tissue injury which may be combined with tissue scarring due to repair.
Popular Threads Discussing Inflammation