Danger-Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs) – the endogenous alarm signals

Sowmya M
Department of Physiology, Karpagam Faculty of Medical Sciences and Research, Othakkalmandapam, Coimbatore, Affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

  • Danger-Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs), or alarmins, are increasingly gaining importance as mechanisms that mediate inflammation in the absence of infectious agents. These are endogenous molecules, produced either intracellularly or extracellularly. These are mainly constitutive substances which are necessary for the normal functioning of the cell, but during conditions of cellular insult or stress, they act as danger signals. It was recently shown that DAMPs can also directly sense and report damage occurring in live cells undergoing physiological stress, even without loss of subcellular compartmentalization. DAMPs have been found to play a role in the pathogenesis of various disorders like arthritis, atherosclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and many neoplastic diseases. Further research into this relatively new class of molecules can lead to the potential development of targeted and specific anti-inflammatory treatments.
  • Keywords: alarmins, Danger-Associated Molecular Patterns, danger signals, inflammation