The granulomatous inflammatory response is a special type of chronic inflammation characterised by often focal collections of macrophages, epithelioid cells and multinucleated giant cells. In this review the characteristics of these cells of the mononuclear phagocyte series are considered, with particular reference to the properties of epithelioid cells and the formation of multinucleated giant cells. The initiation and development of granulomatous inflammation is discussed, stressing the importance of persistence of the inciting agent and the complex role of the immune system, not only in the perpetuation of the granulomatous response but also in the development of necrosis and fibrosis.
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