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Subject - medicine
The body uses inflammation (lat. inflammatio) to fend of damaging stimuli. Causes that may trigger an inflammatory reaction include pathogens, physical factors such as temperature or radiation, foreign bodies, and the decay of cells from malignant tumours. The inflammatory reaction eliminates the damaging stimuli and their consequences. Local signs of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, and pain.
Mast cells (mastocytes) play a key role in the inflammatory process. Pathogens or foreign bodies trigger the formation of IgE antibodies, which bind to the mast cells. Mast cells are part of the non-specific (innate) immune system, and contain substances like histamine, an inflammatory mediator, that are released upon activation. The release of these substances induces the typical symptoms of inflammation. Histamine causes expansion of the blood vessels, which causes reddening and warming of the affected tissue. Because of the increased porosity of the vessel walls, which is also triggered by the inflammatory mediators, protein-containing fluid flows out into the tissue, causing oedema.
Meanwhile, scavenger cells (phagocytes) enter the tissue, attack the foreign cells, and carry them off. They also induce the secretion of other substances that can lead to symptoms such as fever and fatigue.