Department

Biology

Publication Year

2006

Abstract

Fever is considered one of the many host defense strategies against injury or infection. It is most often associated with infectious diseases but can be caused by both microbial and non-microbial agents invading the body such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, or tissue injury. Although the term fever specifically defines a regulated increase in body temperature in response to infectious or inflammatory stimuli, the febrile response is a complex physiological response that involves changes in the neurologic, endocrine, and immune systems.

The organization and interaction between these systems are not yet clearly defined nor completely understood. Research over the past decade, however, has provided valuable information from both human and animals regarding the role of fever. In addition to discussing the pathophysiology of fever, this paper addresses four protective mechanisms of fever and proposes the hypothesis that the principal role of fever is to enhance immunologic mechanisms.

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