What is the pathophysiology of the inflammatory cascade in systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)?

Updated: May 07, 2018
  • Author: Lewis J Kaplan, MD, FACS, FCCM, FCCP; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

Trauma, inflammation, or infection leads to the activation of the inflammatory cascade. Initially, a proinflammatory activation occurs, but almost immediately thereafter a reactive suppressing anti-inflammatory response occurs. This SIRS usually manifests itself as increased systemic expression of both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory species. When SIRS is mediated by an infectious insult, the inflammatory cascade is often initiated by endotoxin or exotoxin. Tissue macrophages, monocytes, mast cells, platelets, and endothelial cells are able to produce a multitude of cytokines. The cytokines tissue necrosis factor–alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) are released first and initiate several cascades.


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