The pleural space in patients with empyema and complicated parapneumonic effusions is a stage for intensive activity representing mobilization of various host responses. Release of inflammatory mediators accompanied by influx of leucocytes as well as alternations of the fibrinolytic cascade are some of the characteristic events occurring in the pleural space during infection. The possible relationship between these two systems is the subject of the article by Alemán and co-workers in this issue of Clinical Science, and is discussed in this comment.

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