Danger-Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs): the Derivatives and Triggers of Inflammation

  • Seema PatelEmail author
Allergens ( RK Bush and S Vieths, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Allergens


Purpose of Review

Allergen is an umbrella term for irritants of diverse origin. Along with other offenders such as pathogens, mutagens, xenobiotics, and pollutants, allergens can be grouped as inflammatory agents. Danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are altered metabolism products of necrotic or stressed cells, which are deemed as alarm signals by the innate immune system. Like inflammation, DAMPs play a role in correcting the altered physiological state, but in excess, they can be lethal due to their signal transduction roles. In a vicious loop, inflammatory agents are DAMP generators and DAMPs create a pro-inflammatory state. Only a handful of DAMPs such as uric acid, mtDNA, extracellular ATP, HSPs, amyloid β, S100, HMGB1, and ECM proteins have been studied till now. A large number of DAMPs are still obscure, in need to be unveiled. The identification and functional characterization of those DAMPs in inflammation pathways can be insightful.

Recent Findings

As inflammation and immune activation have been implicated in almost all pathologies, studies on them have been intensified in recent times. Consequently, the pathologic mechanisms of various DAMPs have emerged. Following PRR ligation, the activation of inflammasome, MAPK, and NF-kB is some of the common pathways.


The limited number of recognized DAMPs are only a fraction of the vast array of other DAMPs. In fact, any misplaced or abnormal level of metabolite can be a DAMP. Sophisticated analysis studies can reveal the full profile of the DAMPs. Lowering the level of DAMPs is useful therapeutic intervention but certainly not as effective as avoiding the DAMP generators, i.e., the inflammatory agents. So, rather than mitigating DAMPs, efforts should be focused on the elimination of inflammatory agents.


Immune system Innate immunity DAMPs Inflammation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Research CenterSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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