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Not to be confused with Parthenogenesis.

The pathogenesis of a disease is the mechanism that causes the disease. The term can also describe the origin and development of the disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent. The word comes from the Greek pathos ("disease") and genesis ("creation").

Types of pathogenesis include microbial infection, inflammation, malignancy and tissue breakdown. For example bacterial pathogenesis is the mechanism by which bacteria cause infectious illness.

Most diseases are caused by multiple processes. For example, certain cancers arise from dysfunction of the immune system (skin tumors and lymphoma after a renal transplant, which requires immunosuppression).[1][2]

Often, a potential etiology is identified by epidemiological observations before a pathological link can be drawn between the cause and the disease. Recently, pathological approach can be directly integrated into epidemiological approach in the interdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE).[3] MPE can help to assess pathogenesis and causality by means of linking a potential etiologic factor to molecular pathologic signatures of a disease.[4] Thus, the MPE paradigm can advance the area of causal inference.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fox, Alvin (2010). General aspects of bacterial pathogenesis. University of South Carolina School of Medicine: Microbiology and Immunology On-line Textbook. 
  2. ^ Miquel Porta, editor. Greenland S, Hernán M, dos Santos Silva I, Last JM, associate editors (2014). A dictionary of epidemiology], 6th. edition. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199976737
  3. ^ Ogino S, Stampfer M (2010). "Lifestyle factors and microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer: the evolving field of molecular pathological epidemiology". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 102 (6): 365–7. doi:10.1093/jnci/djq031. PMC 2841039. PMID 20208016. 
  4. ^ Ogino S, Chan AT, Fuchs CS, Giovannucci E. Molecular pathological epidemiology of colorectal neoplasia: an emerging transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary field. Gut 2011; 60: 397-411.

Further reading[edit]