A Glossary of Terms Related to Sarcoidosis

A glossary of common terms related to sarcoidosis. Provided by the late Om P. Sharma.

Reproduced here by permission of the late Dr. Om P. Sharma

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE): Level of this enzyme is increased in the blood of patients with sarcoidosis. The test supports the diagnosis of sarcoidosis.

Acid-fast staining: A method for recognizing the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis).

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is abbreviated: AIDS

Acute illness: Illness that occurs suddenly over a short time.

Adrenal Glands: Two small glands in body that make steroid hormones.

Alveolar macrophage: A type of cell that is involved in lung defenses.

Alveolus: Sac-like structure of the lung where oxygen exchange occurs. Alveoli are pleural.

Anergy: Loss of skin reactivity to an antigen. Anesthesiologist A doctor who specializes in anesthesia, sedation and pain control.

Anorexia: Loss of appetite.

Antibody: Protein complex (an immunoglobulin) that interacts with an antigen. It is produced by B-Lymphocytes and recognizes specific area of an antigen.

Antigen: Substance that reacts with an antibody. It contains an area on its surface to which antibody binds.

APC: Antigen presenting cell

Autoimmune response: Immune system recognizes the host tissue as a foreign intruder and attacks it.

Asthma: Allergic disease of the lungs that causes narrowing of the breathing tubes or bronchi or airways.

B lymphocyte (B cell): Lymphocyte that produces circulating antibodies or immunoglobulins.

Bacillus: A rod shaped bacterium. Bacilli and bacteria are pleural.

Bacteriophage: Virus that infects bacteria.

Bell's Palsy: Paralysis of the seventh cranial or facial nerve.

Benign: Harmless, not cancerous.

Beryllium: A metal that causes berylliosis, a lung disease that resembles sarcoidosis.

Biopsy: Sampling a small portion of body tissue to find out whether tissue is benign, infectious or cancerous.

Bronchoscopy: Insertion of a thin tubular instrument (bronchoscope) into the lung for sampling fluid and tissue specimens.

Branchoalveolar lavage (BAL): Fluid obtained from the lung by bronchoscopy.

Cardiomyopathy: Disease of heart muscle causing heart failure.

Caseation: Tissue necrosis (dead tissue) that resemble cheese, occurs in tuberculosis.

CBC: Complete blood count. Normal red cell counts, 4.2 to 5.9 million/mm3. Normal white cell counts, 4,800 to 1O,800/mm3. Normal platelet count, 200,000 to 350,000/mm3.

Cell-mediated immunity (CMI): Acquired immunity as a result of T-Lymphocytes and activated macrophages.

Chemokines: Proteins produced by many human cells including endothelial cells, macrophages and cells of the immune system. 

Chemotherapy: Using drugs that act by altering immune mechanisms and cell growth. These drugs are used to treat lymphoma, leukemia and cancers.

Cirrhosis: Chronic liver disease that interferes with normal liver function.

Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the membrane of eyes and eyelids.

CT or CAT Scan (Computed Tomography Scan): A method of imaging in which a computer is used to reconstruct the anatomic features of an organ or tissue.

CXR: Chest x-ray.

Cytokines: Bioactive proteins produced by many human cells especially endothelial cells and macrophages.

Diabetes: Also called sugar diabetes characterized by increased glucose (sugar) level in the blood.

Diagnosis: The cause of an illness.

Dyspnea: Shortness of breath. Edema: Excessive fluid in tissues.

Embolization: Procedure by which abnormal blood vessels are blocked.

Emphysema: Lung destruction caused mainly by smoking.

Endothelial cells: Type of cells that line blood vessels and the heart. They produce various cytokines.

Erythema nodosum: Red, tender bumps on the legs in some patients with acute sarcoidosis.

ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate: A measure of tissue inflammation. Normal rate: men, 1 to 13 mm/hr; woman, 1 to 20 mm/hr.

Facial palsy: Loss of function of the seventh cranial nerve.

Etiology: Study of factors that cause disease.

Fibrosis: Scar formation or scarring.

Fungi: Microbes with rigid cell walls; includes yeast and mycelial forms.

Gallium Scan: Test performed to find if sarcoidosis is active and spread to many organs.

Genetic: The inherited code for human structure and function.

Genome: Complete sets of genes of an organism.

Genotype: Genetic constitution of an organism.

Granuloma: A round or oval collection of inflammatory cells including lymphocytes, macrophages and neutrophils.

Helper T -cells: Class of T lymphocytes that stimulate growth of specific type lymphocytes called B cells, and cytotoxic T cells, and also activates macrophages.

Hematuria: Blood in urine.

Hemorrhage: Bleeding.

Hepatomegaly: Enlargement of the liver.

Hilar adenopathy: Enlargements of lymph glands of lungs.

Hodgkins Disease: Type of lymphoma or cancer of lymph glands.

Host defenses: Mechanism by which humans keep foreign antigens from harming them.

Humoral immunity: Immunoglobulin (serum antibodies) dependent defense system.

Hypercalcemia: Increased calcium in blood.

Hypercalciuria: Increased calcium in urine. Hypotension: Low blood pressure.

Hypersplenism: Enlarged spleen that destroys red and white blood cells and platelets.

Hypertension: High blood pressure.

Inflammation: The process of cytokine release and phagocyte activation resulting in redness, swelling, pain and warmth at the site of injury.

Interferon: Class of proteins produced by body to neutralize an endotoxin or virus attack. Three main interferons are alpha, beta, and gamma.

Interleukins: Cytokines produced by moncytes and macrophages.

Kveim-Siltzbach Test: Skin test for diagnosing sarcoidosis.

Lesion: Destruction of tissue resulting from inflammatory challenge.

Leukocyte: White blood cell. Leucopenia: Low white cell count.

Lung biopsy: Procedure to remove a tiny piece of lung in order to perform microscopic examination.

Lupus Pernio: Skin lesion that affects the nose and face.

Lymph node: An oval structure which is the site where lymphatic vessels come together.

Lymphocytes: T-cells (helper, suppressor and cvtoxic) and B-cells.

Lymphoma: Cancer of lymph glands.

Malignant Cells/Malignancy: Cancerous cells or cancer. Marophage: Large tissue cell that can swallow foreign particles. It develops from monocyte.

Mediastinoscopy: Procedure to remove a lymph gland from the chest to make diagnosis of sarcoidosis, lymphoma, and other diseases.

Monocyte: Cell in the blood that differentiates into macrophage.

MRI or MR Imaging: Imaging method using magnetic resonance.

Multiorgan (Multisystem) disease: Disease that affects many or all parts of the body.

Necrosis: Death of tissue.

Nephritis: Inflammation of kidneys.

Nodule: A knot, swelling or mass.

Palsy: Paralysis or weakness of a nerve. Paralysis: Loss of strength or function.

Paresis: Weakness.

Paresthesia: Abnormal sensations such as tingling and prickling.

Phagocyte: Host cell that swallows and destroys bacteria or foreign antigen.

Pleura: Membranous cavity that surrounds the lungs.

Pleural effusion: The presence of fluid in the membrane cavity that surrounds the lungs.

Pneumothorax: Air in the pleural cavity. It may cause the lung to collapse.

Positive T8 skin test: Raised, red tender area at the site of TB skin test antigen injection.

Prednisone: A commonly used steroid.

Sarcoid: Comes from the Greek words: "Sarko" meaning flesh; the "oid" means "like".

Sarcoidosis: Disease that causes granulomatous inflammation.

Sputum: Phlegm coughed up from lungs.

Splenomegaly: Enlargement of the spleen.

Syndrome: A group of symptoms and signs that characterize a specific disease.

Systemic: Affecting the whole body rather than one organ or tissue.

T-cell: Thymus dependent lymphocyte.

THl and TH2 cells: Types of lymphocytes.

Thrombocytopenia: Low platelet count.

Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF): Cytokine produced by monocytes and macrophages.

Uveitis: Inflammation of the eye.