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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 315941, 10 pages
Review Article

Danger Signals Activating the Immune Response after Trauma

Division of Trauma Surgery, Department of Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 8 January 2012; Revised 23 March 2012; Accepted 26 March 2012

Academic Editor: Mohamed Lamkanfi

Copyright © 2012 Stefanie Hirsiger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sterile injury can cause a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) that resembles the host response during sepsis. The inflammatory response following trauma comprises various systems of the human body which are cross-linked with each other within a highly complex network of inflammation. Endogenous danger signals (danger-associated molecular patterns; DAMPs; alarmins) as well as exogenous pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) play a crucial role in the initiation of the immune response. With popularization of the “danger theory,” numerous DAMPs and PAMPs and their corresponding pathogen-recognition receptors have been identified. In this paper, we highlight the role of the DAMPs high-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1), interleukin-1α (IL-1α), and interleukin-33 (IL-33) as unique dual-function mediators as well as mitochondrial danger signals released upon cellular trauma and necrosis.