Dictionary » P » Pus




A viscous exudate formed and discharged from an inflamed tissue as an end-result of suppuration


Pus is an end-result of suppuration. It may vary in color: yellowish, greenish, or brownish hue. The color may depend on the causative agent of the infection.
1 Unlike other exudates, pus is viscous because of its components. It consists of leukocytes (especially polymorphonuclear leukocytes), dead pyogenic bacteria, and necrotic cellular debris or tissue elements.

Suppuration is the process of forming a pus in the inflamed tissue. However, suppuration may also refer to the pus itself. Pus forms when infective microorganisms (e.g. pyogenic bacteria) enter and invade the tissue and this leads to series of events that trigger the immune action of leukocytes. Chemical messengers are released into the bloodstream, which activate leukocytes to move into the site of infection. Pus is in fact the result of the immune response of the body through leukocytes attempting to remove the infective microorganisms and the affected cells of an injured tissue.

Word origin: Latin pūs, related to Greek puon (pus)


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1White, L., Duncan, G., & Baumle, W. (2010). Foundations of Adult Health Nursing. NY: Cengage Learning.

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