The dynamics of acute inflammation

Rukmini Kumar, Gilles Clermont, Yoram Vodovotz, Carson C. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


When the body is infected, it mounts an acute inflammatory response to rid itself of the pathogens and restore health. Uncontrolled acute inflammation due to infection is defined clinically as sepsis and can culminate in organ failure and death. We consider a three-dimensional ordinary differential equation model of inflammation consisting of a pathogen, and two inflammatory mediators. The model reproduces the healthy outcome and diverse negative outcomes, depending on initial conditions and parameters. We analyze the various bifurcations between the different outcomes when key parameters are changed and suggest various therapeutic strategies. We suggest that the clinical condition of sepsis can arise from several distinct physiological states, each of which requires a different treatment approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ordinary differential equation (ODE) models
  • Phase-space and bifurcation analysis
  • Sepsis
  • Systemic inflammation


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