Inflammatory response: A fundamental type of response by the body to disease and injury, a response characterized by the classical signs of "dolor, calor, rubor, and tumor" -- pain, heat (localized warmth), redness, and swelling.
Innumerable insults (a mosquito bite, a splinter, a virus infection, a bruise, a broken bone) can trigger an inflammatory response and dispatch cells and chemicals to the site to repair the damage. Inflammation is a key part of the body's defense system, an indispensable protective response by the body's system of self-defense.
Paradoxically, the inflammatory process itself may cause tissue damage while it is engaged in healing and repair. Thus, inflammation may play a role in such diverse disorders as Alzheimer disease, meningitis, atherosclerosis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, cirrhosis of the liver, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, osteoporosis, and psoriasis.
For more information, see: Inflammation.