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Defence and repair mechanisms

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Acute inflammation brings a range of cell types and inflammatory mediators into the area of damage. They have a number of roles and the interaction of each element is dealt with in more detail within the submenu.

Cellular elements:

  • polymorphonuclear granulocytes: appear early and have key role in removing necrotic cells, foreign material and bacteria
  • macrophages: more vital role in wound healing. Phagocytose but also release inflammatory mediators with a significant role in healing.
  • eosinophils: active role in certain parasitic infections and hypersensitivity
  • mast cells: release mediators acting locally e.g. histamine
  • endothelial cells: can produce mediators and migrate during the process of angiogenesis

Chemical inflammatory mediators:

  • histamine: promotes increased dilatation and permeability of blood vessels
  • kinin system: vasodilators, increased vessel permeability and more prolonged extra-vascular smooth muscle stimulant.
  • complement: role dependent on component and diverse. Can act as opsonin for phagocytosis, chemoattractant for neutrophils or can be directly bactericidal.
  • plasmin: modulates complement and kinin system as well as digestion of fibrin
  • prostaglandins: many roles, PGE1 & PGE2 involved in vasodilatation and increased permeability
  • cytokines: involved in leukocyte intercellular signalling

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