Activation and Control of Complement, Inflammation, and Infection Associated with the Use of Biomedical Polymers

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It is generally acknowledged that artificial biomaterials are much less immunologically active than transplants or tissue derived biomaterials. However, activation of both the coagulation cascade and the complement system is a common occurrence when human blood is exposed to biomaterial surfaces during extracorporeal procedures, such as renal hemodialysis or cardiopulmonary bypass. Both individual and collective activation of these cascades often produce local and systemic effects. A number of complement activation products function as the mediators of inflammation. They serve as ligands for specific receptors on polymorphonuclear leukocytes, monocytes, macrophages, mast cells, and other cells. Such an interaction leads to induction of cellular responses in adhered cells, including release of oxidative products, lysosomal enzymes, or both, which often contribute to a number of pathologic conditions. Most pathogens invading the human body are attacked by the immune system directly following entry, especially when they are in contact with blood. However, bacteria and parasites have developed a large number of specific strategies to overcome immune defense among others by avoiding either recognition or eradication by complement. In this aspect, of concern are several microorganisms responsible for formation of antibiotic resistant biofilms on biomaterial surfaces, namely Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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