Granuloma Definition

An accumulation of granulocytes (also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes [PMNs]) and other cells that contain and enclose an area of inflammation at the site of cell injury, usually due to infection.

The effect is to “wall off” the area so the infection cannot spread. The resulting construction is fibrous (scar-like). over time the pathogen causing the infection dies but the granuloma remains. Granulomas may form anywhere in the body. Cytokines are instrumental in facilitating the process of granuloma formation, directing the actions of the involved immune cells.

Granulomas in the lungs commonly result from histoplasmosis and other fungal infections. Granuloma inguinale is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Granulomas are also characteristic of tuberculosis, hansen’s disease (leprosy), and sarcoidosis.

Any underlying infectious disease requires appropriate treatment. The doctor may surgically remove granulomas that cause discomfort or are unsightly. The granuloma itself usually causes no problems and does not require treatment.

See also FUNGUSGRANULOCYTELEUKOCYTE; PHAGOCYTEPHAGOCYTOSISSEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (STDS).

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