Inflammatory Response

Any pathogen that gets past the skin or mucous membranes will stimulate the inflammatory response, a series of events that suppress infection and speed recovery. An example is shown in Figure 47-3. When cells are damaged, whether through a cut on the skin or invasion by pathogens, some of the damaged cells release histamine (HIS-tuh-MEEN), as described in step O. Histamine is a substance that increases blood flow to the injured area and increases the permeability of surrounding capillaries. The changes caused by histamine result in redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. If blood vessels have been damaged, platelets begin the blood-clotting process, sealing off surrounding tissues and stopping pathogens from entering the rest of the body.

White blood cells fight pathogens that have entered the body. In step ©, fluids and white blood cells called phagocytes pass through the capillary walls to the injured area. Phagocytes ingest and destroy pathogens and foreign matter, as shown in step ©. Phagocytes and some other types of white blood cells are attracted to the site of injury by histamine.

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