Not to be confused with Parthenogenesis.

The pathogenesis of a disease is the biological mechanism (or mechanisms) that leads to the diseased state. 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]

The pathogenic mechanisms of a disease (or condition) are set in motion by underlying etiological causes, which if controlled would allow the disease to be prevented.[3] Often, a potential etiology is identified by epidemiological observations before a pathological link can be drawn between the cause and the disease. The pathological perspective can be directly integrated into an epidemiological approach in the interdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology.[4] Molecular pathological epidemiology can help to assess pathogenesis and causality by means of linking a potential etiologic factor to molecular pathologic signatures of a disease.[5] Thus, the molecular pathological epidemiology paradigm can advance the area of causal inference.

See also


  1. Fox A (2010). General aspects of bacterial pathogenesis. University of South Carolina School of Medicine: Microbiology and Immunology On-line Textbook.
  2. Porta M, Greenland S, Hernán M, dos Santos Silva I, Last JM, eds. (2014). [' A dictionary of epidemiology.] Check |url= value (help) (6th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199976737.
  3. Last, JM, ed. (2000). A Dictionary of Epidemiology (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-19-977434-0.
  4. 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 2841039Freely accessible. PMID 20208016.
  5. Ogino S, Chan AT, Fuchs CS, Giovannucci E (2011). "Molecular pathological epidemiology of colorectal neoplasia: an emerging transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary field". Gut. 60 (3): 397–411. doi:10.1136/gut.2010.217182. PMC 3040598Freely accessible. PMID 21036793.

Further reading

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