Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner


  • Nicolas Rohleder
  • Jutta M. Wolf
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_25


The term “inflammation” is derived from the Latin inflammare which translates to “to set on fire.” Inflammation as a process is a component of the overall immune response against invading pathogens and/or tissue damage. A local inflammatory response at a site of a wound and/or infection is characterized by the classical symptoms calor (heat), rubor (redness), dolor (pain), tumor (swelling), and functio laesa(loss of function). These symptoms are the result of the inflammatory response system being activated in the affected tissue. More specifically, the inflammatory response is started by local resident cells of the innate immune system, which secrete inflammatory mediators and other effector substances. These substances induce vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels), which allows increased blood flow to the affected area and also causes rubor and calor. Related to this, an increased permeability of the blood vessel walls allows plasma exudation (transfer of blood...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Alley, D. E., Crimmins, E. M., Karlamangla, A., Hu, P., & Seeman, T. E. (2008). Inflammation and rate of cognitive change in high-functioning older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 63(1), 50–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bazzano, L. A., He, J., Muntner, P., Vupputuri, S., & Whelton, P. K. (2003). Relationship between cigarette smoking and novel risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine, 138(11), 891–897.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bruunsgaard, H., Ladelund, S., Pedersen, A. N., Schroll, M., Jorgensen, T., & Pedersen, B. K. (2003). Predicting death from tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in 80-year-old people. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 132(1), 24–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cinel, I., & Opal, S. M. (2009). Molecular biology of inflammation and sepsis: a primer. Critical Care Medicine, 37(1), 291–304.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Danesh, J. (1999). Smoldering arteries? Low-grade inflammation and coronary heart disease. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 282(22), 2169–2171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dantzer, R., O’Connor, J. C., Freund, G. G., Johnson, R. W., & Kelley, K. W. (2008). From inflammation to sickness and depression: When the immune system subjugates the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 46–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ershler, W. B. (1993). Interleukin-6: A cytokine for gerontologists. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 41(2), 176–181.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferrucci, L., Harris, T. B., Guralnik, J. M., Tracy, R. P., Corti, M. C., Cohen, H. J., et al. (1999). Serum IL-6 level and the development of disability in older persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 47(6), 639–646.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Ford, D. E., & Erlinger, T. P. (2004). Depression and C-reactive protein in US adults: Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164(9), 1010–1014.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giugliano, D., Ceriello, A., & Esposito, K. (2006). The effects of diet on inflammation: Emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 48(4), 677–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hamer, M., Molloy, G. J., de Oliveira, C., & Demakakos, P. (2009). Persistent depressive symptomatology and inflammation: To what extent do health behaviours and weight control mediate this relationship? Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 23(4), 413–418.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Christian, L., Preston, H., Houts, C. R., Malarkey, W. B., Emery, C. F., et al. (2010). Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(2), 113–121.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Miller, G. E., & Blackwell, E. (2006). Turning up the heat: Inflammation as a mechanism linking chronic stress, depression, and heart disease. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(6), 269–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pace, T. W., Negi, L. T., Adame, D. D., Cole, S. P., Sivilli, T. I., Brown, T. D., et al. (2009). Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(1), 87–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Raison, C. L., Capuron, L., & Miller, A. H. (2006). Cytokines sing the blues: Inflammation and the pathogenesis of depression. Trends in Immunology, 27(1), 24–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Raison, C. L., & Miller, A. H. (2003). When not enough is too much: The role of insufficient glucocorticoid signaling in the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(9), 1554–1565.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ridker, P. M., Cushman, M., Stampfer, M. J., Tracy, R. P., & Hennekens, C. H. (1997). Inflammation, aspirin, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy men. The New England Journal of Medicine, 336(14), 973–979.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rohleder, N., Wolf, J. M., & Wolf, O. T. (2010). Glucocorticoid sensitivity of cognitive and inflammatory processes in depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(1), 104–114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Steptoe, A., Hamer, M., & Chida, Y. (2007). The effects of acute psychological stress on circulating inflammatory factors in humans: A review and meta-analysis. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 21(7), 901–912.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yudkin, J. S., Kumari, M., Humphries, S. E., & Mohamed-Ali, V. (2000). Inflammation, obesity, stress and coronary heart disease: Is interleukin-6 the link? Atherosclerosis, 148(2), 209–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA