Microenvironment Response to Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is associated with most age-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis and cancer. Only when the stressors are completely removed from the tissues can chronic inflammation be resolved. For example, an activated lymphatic system will promote lymphatic drainage, antigen circulation and cell migration, and is essential to help the body eliminate or minimize those stressors, resolving the inflammation and returning to a healthy state.
The microenvironment is directly involved in the initiation and resolution of inflammatory responses. Inflammatory reactions may occur within distinct microenvironments comprised of tissue specific cells and their specialized ECM components. Communication between a cell and its microenvironment is bidirectional and forms the basis of the homeostatic control of many tissues.
Consideration of the environment or “terrain” in which inflammation takes place offers critical insight into targeting the causes of conditions associated with chronic inflammation, beyond symptoms alone. Due to the biological complexity of chronic inflammation, however, the same intervention could produce different effects in different patients at different times. Future therapeutic systems may benefit from the ability to assess an inflammatory patient profile, which could then help to identify and locate resolution blockages and underlying pathologies. Assessment of a patient’s medical history and culmination of individual resolution factors over time may allow the clinician better to evaluate and treat the inflammatory status of a patient.