What Are pro-Inflammatory Effects?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Inflammation is the body’s natural protective response which can be triggered when the body’s homeostasis or balance is altered or threatened. This automatic reaction also initiates the healing process to assist the body in returning to normal. Any type of injury, infection, illness or damage to the internal or external body can activate the inflammation process. However, a pro-inflammatory reaction causes the body’s inflammation process to be altered or exaggerated.

Common indicators of inflammation are swelling and pain with the area involved becoming red and warmer to the touch. These symptoms are directly related to the severity of the disruption of the body’s normal equilibrium. When a pro-inflammatory response is elicited, side effects can be amplified. A pro-inflammatory response may also inhibit the healing progression.

Pro-inflammatory cytokines are proteins that are normally produced in cells and are a product of the immune system, the body’s process to keep the body healthy and functioning at the highest level. These proteins adjust the amount of inflammation produced by communicating with other cells throughout the body and regulating the immune system. However, in some instances, there is an over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This causes an abnormal response from the body and can inhibit healing or perpetuate certain conditions such as allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel or pelvic disease, degenerative conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus.


Inflammation continues to be present as long as the body is injured or is battling an illness or infection. A prolonged or unusual inflammation reaction as seen when a pro-inflammatory response is present can create a chronic or long-standing issue with the symptoms associated with inflammation. This can perpetuate the pain, swelling, heat and color changes of the tissues. In turn, this prolonged bout of irritation can result in the destruction of healthy cells surrounding the area or cells that are not related to the area affected by the ailment. Continued pro-inflammation may also bring about the disruption of other body systems and cause a general failing of overall health.

Treatment for pro-inflammatory responses inhibiting health includes a variety of specialized medications to deter the production of cytokines and aid in producing an anti-inflammatory reaction. These medications are based on the health issue and the damaging results of the abnormal inflammation process. Other options include things like exercise and enhancing diet, or other therapies such as melatonin treatments to help regulate the abnormal production of cytokines.


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