Glossary of Terms
Antioxidant - a substance such as vitamin C or E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
Analgesic - acting to relieve pain.
Cytokine – substances which are secreted by certain cells of the immune system and have an effect on other cells.
Chemokine - a family of small cytokines, or signaling proteins secreted by cells.
Endogenous - originating from within an organism.
GABA - gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter with central nervous system (CNS) inhibitory activity.
Glial cells (also known as glia or neuroglia) - Non-neuronal (not nerves) cells of the nervous system, each of which is specialized for a particular function. They include astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, ependymal cells, radial glia, Schwann cells and satellite cells.
Lipid - A lipid is chemically defined as a substance that is insoluble in water. Lipids are an important component of living cells. Together with carbohydrates and proteins, lipids are the main constituents of plant and animal cells.
Mast cells - tissue cells of the immune system that respond to perceived pathogens by setting off a rapid inflammatory response to outside invaders, such as germs, viruses, and parasites. Mast cells have the capacity to directly kill these organisms or to stimulate the production and release of substances that will destroy the pathogen.
Mast cells play a prominent role in the activation of the allergy response. When a person has an allergy, mast cells respond by releasing various substances, including histamine, to harmless triggers as if they were a threat. This reaction can cause increased permeability of blood vessels (i.e., inflammation and swelling), a drop in blood pressure, contraction of smooth muscles (e.g., bronchial muscles and intestines), and increased mucus production. Mast cells are scattered throughout the connective tissues of the body, especially beneath the surface of the skin, near blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, within nerves, throughout the respiratory system, and in the digestive and urinary tracts. In addition to their protective and immune system effects, mast cells are also involved in: Homeostasis of blood vessels and bronchial functioning, injury healing, formation of new blood vessels, regulation of functioning of cells throughout the body, regulation of bone growth.
Microglial cells (Microglia) - a type of glial cell located throughout the brain and spinal cord. Microglia account for 10–15% of all cells found within the brain. As the resident macrophage cells, they act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS).
Modulate - To regulate or adjust.
Oxidation - When an atom or compound loses one or more electrons, resulting in unstable molecules called free radicals.
Synergistic - relating to the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.