Acute and chronic inflammation compared

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Acute Inflammation

  • Causative agents – harmful bacteria or injury to tissue
  • Major cells involved – mainly neutrophils, basophils (in the inflammatory response), and eosinophils (response to parasites and worms), and mononuclear cells (macrophages, monocytes)
  • Primary mediators – eicosanoids, vasoactive amines
  • Onset (when does the inflammation start) – straight away
  • Duration – short-lived, only a few days
  • Outcomes – the inflammation either gets better (resolution), develops into an abscess, or becomes a chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation

  • Causative agent – non-degradable pathogens that cause persistent inflammation, infection with some types of viruses, persistent foreign bodies, overactive immune system reactions
  • Major cells involved – Macrophages, lymphocytes, plasma cells (these three are mononuclear cells), and fibroblasts
  • Primary mediators – reactive oxygen species, hydrolytic enzymes, IFN-γ and other cytokines, growth factors
  • Duration – from several months to years
  • Outcomes – the destruction of tissue, thickening and scarring of connective tissue (fibrosis), death of cells or tissues (necrosis)

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