The evolutionary origins of inflammation

By Leo Pruimboom

Inflammatory responses in humans are remarkably similar to those in other animals. Snakes, worms, rats and also non-human primates such as anthropoid apes are all subject to inflammatory responses. Nearly all animals, except for those who hibernate, react in an identical manner to both tissue damage and a lack of oxygen. This probably means that this response, which has been around for millions of years, must have conferred evolutionary benefits. In other words: the inflammatory response as we know it today has developed during an unimaginably long period of time, has therefore been put to the test extensively, and, as a result, has slowly been optimised.In fact, it is one of the main reasons animals - including humans - are still around today.

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