Single-cell and multicell organisms have developed elaborate networks to minimize injury, repair
damage, and fend off invasion by other organisms1 with the
goal of maximizing the probability of surviving overwhelming stress. These networks in higher
organisms were described by Walter Cannon2 as the acute
stress response. The acute stress response includes centrally mediated sympathetic neural and
humoral activation, increased vascular smooth muscle tone, catecholamine and cortisol release into
the bloodstream, minimized pain perception, altered intercellular and intracellular signaling and
intermediary metabolism, and a proinflammatory, prothrombotic intravascular state.
Pinsky MR. Is There a Role for β-Blockade in Septic Shock? JAMA. 2013;310(16):1677–1678. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278478
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