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According to the biologic theory inflammation, in its ultimate analysis, "is the reaction of phagocytes against a harmful agent." This theory, which Metchnikoff has done much to establish on a scientific basis, bids fair to be universally adopted by scientists within the next few years. Wherever there is phagocytosis there is inflammation and without phagocytosis there is no inflammation. In its most typical form inflammation presents well recognized features—redness, heat, pain and swelling, but viewed from our present standpoint, none of these features are essential or necessary parts of the inflammatory process. They are merely more or less frequent accompaniments of the essential feature, the reaction of the phagocytes, either local or mobile, or vascular, against some irritant. That inflammation may exist in the absence of preternatural heat is proven by the occurrence of the process in the cold-blooded animals; that it may exist in the absence of redness and
WASHBURN WH. SEROUS INFLAMMATION. JAMA. 1898;XXX(20):1159–1161. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440720023001g
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