Acute phase response in infectious disease.
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In considering the pathology associated with infectious diseases, the most common host response to such infection is inflammation. The mechanism(s) whereby inflammation is initiated and the cell types involved will dictate the kinds of acute phase plasma changes that can be seen associated with the infection. Bacteria seem to initiate the classical type of inflammatory response and plasma protein changes similar to those seen in experimental inflammation induced by chemical means. Viruses, on the other hand, in the absence of cytopathology do not appear to induce the same kind of inflammatory changes and avoid the induction of the acute phase protein response since they may not initiate activation of monocytes and/or macrophages. Those viruses that do cause macrophage activation would be expected to have acute phase protein changes associated with that activation. Parasites, however, appear to initiate the acute phase plasma response only when their migration leads to tissue destruction and local inflammation such as caused by parasitemia with Trypanosoma cruzi in the mouse or with migration of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis in the rodent. Human parasitic diseases require much more investigation in order to clarify the role played by acute phase proteins in the subsequent establishment of the host-parasite relationship. We postulate that the macrophage or monocyte on interaction with the infectious pathogen becomes activated and secretes a number of factors, including interleukin 1 and hepatocyte-stimulating factor, which have a marked effect on the total acute phase reaction. In addition to an effect on phagocytic and immune systems, the mediators cause hepatocytes to markedly increase the secretion of plasma acute phase proteins. Some of these proteins return to the site of inflammation and interact with the infectious pathogen and/or cells and proteins of the host, thereby affecting the final outcome of inflammation. We also propose that the initial interaction of an organism such as a parasite and the mammalian host involves early recognition by the macrophage, thereby initiating both the humoral and cellular acute phase reactions and subsequently affects the immune response against the parasite. Variations in the acute phase reaction may help to explain differences in susceptibility to infectious organisms and the presence or lack of host killing mechanisms for the parasite.
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