Cellular and molecular dynamics in the foreign body reaction

Tissue Eng. 2006 Jul;12(7):1955-70. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.1955.


Intracorporally implanted materials, such as medical devices, will provoke the body to initiate an inflammatory reaction. This inflammatory reaction to implanted materials is known as the foreign body reaction (FBR) and is characterized by 3 distinct phases: onset, progression, and resolution. The FBR proceeds in the creation of a dynamic microenvironment that is spatially well organized. The progression of the FBR is regulated by soluble mediators, such as cytokines, chemokines, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are produced locally by tissue cells and infiltrated inflammatory cells. These soluble mediators orchestrate the cascade of cellular processes in the microenvironment that accompanies the FBR, consisting of cellular activation, angiogenesis, extravasation, migration, phagocytosis, and, finally, fibrosis. The nature of the FBR requires that the soluble mediators act in a spatial and temporally regulated manner as well. This regulation is well known for several inflammatory processes, but scarce knowledge exists about the intricate relationship between the FBR and the expression of soluble mediators. This review discusses the key processes during the initiation, progression, and resolution phase, with emphasis on the role of soluble mediators. Besides other sites of implantation, we focus on the subcutaneous implantation model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / metabolism*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects*


  • Chemokines
  • Lymphokines
  • fibrosin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases