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Clinical Psycho-neuro-immunology (cPNI)

Glossary of Terms


A

Acute Inflammation

Typically a sudden onset marked by the classical signs of heat, redness, pain, swelling and loss of function. Vascular and exudative processes predominate.

Amino Acids

The water-soluble organic acids that are composed of a carboxyl (-COOH) and an amino (-NH2) group attached to the same carbon atom. There are approximately twenty such compounds which when linked together in short or long chains, give rise to peptides and proteins, respectively.

Autoimmune Disorder

A disorder produced by the immune attack directed at the individual’s own healthy tissues.

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)

The part of the peripheral nervous system that regulates visceral responses (e.g. cardiac, endocrine, gastrointestinal, circulatory responses) via the operation of two antagonistic branches – the sympathetic and the parasympathetic – causing mobilisation or storage of energy, respectively.

B

Bacteria

The unicellular, prokaryotic microorganism capable of causing disease.

Blood-brain Barrier (BBB)

The characteristics of brain capillaries that prevent the movement of substances, particularly macromolecules, into the brain tissue.

Borrelia Burgdorfei

A parasite that causes Lyme disease in humans.

C

Central Nervous System (CNS)

The portion of the nervous system in vertebrates that resides within the skull and the spinal column, namely the brain and the spinal cord.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A disorder characterized by a lack of energy and sleep disturbance thought to have an infectious etiology.

Chronic Low-grade Inflammation

An inflammation that may begin with a relatively rapid onset or in a slow, insidious or even unnoticed manner. It tends to persist for several weeks, months, or years and has a vague and indefinite termination; occurs when the injuring agent (or products resulting from its presence) persists in the lesion, and the host’s tissues respond in a manner (or to a degree) that is not sufficient to overcome completely the continuing effects of the injuring agent.

Circadian Rhythm

The regular cycle of some biologic function within a period of 24 hours.

D

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “D”.

E

Essential Nutrients

The molecules that are required for cellular metabolism but are not synthesised within the body must be obtained from dietary sources. They include certain amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins.

F

Flora

The microorganisms that normally inhabit the gastrointestinal tract to help maintain normal function, also known as gut microbiota.

Fungus

A group of eukaryotic organism once regarded as plants but now having their own separate kingdom, fungi. They exist as single-celled or multicellular organisms that can be parasitic.

G

Gastritis

An inflammation of the mucosal surface of the stomach

Gastroenteritis

An inflammation of the mucosal surfaces of the stomach and intestines.

H

Hormesis

The process whereby exposure to low levels of a toxin or stressor creates an enhanced capability to counteract the adverse effects of other challenges.

Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA axis)

The system primarily concerned with the regulation of the release of adrenocortical steroid hormones.

Hypothalamus

A relatively small region of the brain located at its base, directly under the thalamus and serving as a center for coordinating most life-sustaining responses including cardiovascular, thermal, endocrine, autonomic, ingestive and sexual activities.

I

Immunodeficiency

A condition of the immune unresponsiveness characterized by increased susceptibility to infection.

Inflammation

A complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli such as damaged cells, pathogens or irritants. It is a protective response involving blood vessels, immune cells and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged and to initiate tissue repair.

Inflammatory Process

A localized protective reaction to tissue irritation, injury, or infection involving leukocytes that causes pain, redness, swelling, and may impair tissue function.

Insulin

A polypeptide hormone secreted by the islet of Langerhans in the pancreas, which helps regulate blood glucose and its storage as glycogen as well as the storage of fats as neutral lipids and further promotes protein synthesis.

Intestinal Permeability

Describes the control of material passing from inside the gastrointestinal tract through the cells lining the gut wall and into the rest of the body. The intestine normally exhibits some permeability, to allow nutrients to pass through the gut while maintaining a protective barrier  to keep potentially harmful substances (such as antigens) from leaving the intestine and migrating to the rest of the body.

Introversion

A dimension of personality primarily characterized by inhibition particularly in social situations.

Islet of Langerhans

The irregular clusters of endocrine cells scattered throughout the pancreas that secrete insulin and glucagon.

J

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “J”.

K

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “K”.

L

Latent Viruses

Any viruses that can persist in the body without causing clinical symptoms but can become reactivated, particularly in response to stress.

Leptin

A protein hormone released by fat cells which normally acts to suppress appetite.

M

Methylation

The attachment of methyl groups to DNA at points where cytosine and guanine are adjacent which acts to block transcription.

Mineral

An inorganic element such as iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, or zinc that is essential to proper cell function.

Molecular Mimicry

Antibodies generated to a foreign antigen can cross react with healthy self-tissue due to the similarity in molecular structure between the foreign and self-antigen.

N

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “N”.

O

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “O”.

P

Pro-inflammatory Cytokines

The proteins released by immune cells that promote inflammatory responses. Major ones include IL-1b, IL-6, and TNF-α.

Q

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “Q”.

R

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “R”.

S

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “S”.

T

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “T”.

U

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “U”.

V

Virus

— Any of various microorganisms that often cause disease and that consist of a core of RNA or DNA material surround by a protein coat, which cannot replicate without infecting a host cell.

Vitamin

Any of various organic substances that are essential in tiny amounts for normal tissue function and are naturally obtained from plant and animal foods.

W

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “W”.

X

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “X”.

Y

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “Y”.

Z

There are no Terms that begin with the letter “Z”.

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