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Front Immunol. 2012 May 16;3:118. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00118. eCollection 2012.

Oral inflammatory diseases and systemic inflammation: role of the macrophage.

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1
Department of Periodontology, The Forsyth Institute Cambridge, MA, USA.

Abstract

Inflammation is a complex reaction to injurious agents and includes vascular responses, migration, and activation of leukocytes. Inflammation starts with an acute reaction, which evolves into a chronic phase if allowed to persist unresolved. Acute inflammation is a rapid process characterized by fluid exudation and emigration of leukocytes, primarily neutrophils, whereas chronic inflammation extends over a longer time and is associated with lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration, blood vessel proliferation, and fibrosis. Inflammation is terminated when the invader is eliminated, and the secreted mediators are removed; however, many factors modify the course and morphologic appearance as well as the termination pattern and duration of inflammation. Chronic inflammatory illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease are now seen as problems that might have an impact on the periodontium. Reciprocal effects of periodontal diseases are potential factors modifying severity in the progression of systemic inflammatory diseases. Macrophages are key cells for the inflammatory processes as regulators directing inflammation to chronic pathological changes or resolution with no damage or scar tissue formation. As such, macrophages are involved in a remarkably diverse array of homeostatic processes of vital importance to the host. In addition to their critical role in immunity, macrophages are also widely recognized as ubiquitous mediators of cellular turnover and maintenance of extracellular matrix homeostasis. In this review, our objective is to identify macrophage-mediated events central to the inflammatory basis of chronic diseases, with an emphasis on how control of macrophage function can be used to prevent or treat harmful outcomes linked to uncontrolled inflammation.

KEYWORDS:

inflammation; innate immune system; macrophage; oral disease; resolution

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