Biological Stress Response Terminology: Integrating the Concepts of Adaptive Response and Preconditioning Stress within a Hormetic Dose-Response Framework

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Hormesis, Adaptive response, Conditioning, Preconditioning, Postconditioning, Stress response, Dose–response, Biphasic, U-shaped

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Many biological subdisciplines that regularly assess dose–response relationships have identified an evolutionarily conserved process in which a low dose of a stressful stimulus activates an adaptive response that increases the resistance of the cell or organism to a moderate to severe level of stress. Due to a lack of frequent interaction among scientists in these many areas, there has emerged a broad range of terms that describe such dose–response relationships. This situation has become problematic because the different terms describe a family of similar biological responses (e.g., adaptive response, preconditioning, hormesis), adversely affecting interdisciplinary communication, and possibly even obscuring generalizable features and central biological concepts. With support from scientists in a broad range of disciplines, this article offers a set of recommendations we believe can achieve greater conceptual harmony in dose–response terminology, as well as better understanding and communication across the broad spectrum of biological disciplines.


Complete list of authors:

Edward J. Calabrese, Kenneth A. Bachmann, A. John Bailer, P. Michael Bolger, Jonathan Borak, Lu Cai, Nina Cedergreen, M. George Cherian, Chuang C. Chiueh, Thomas W. Clarkson, Ralph R. Cook, David M. Diamond, David J. Doolittle, Michael A .Dorato, Stephen O. Duke, Ludwig Feinendegen, Donald E. Gardner, Ronald W. Hart, Kenneth L. Hastings, A. Wallace Hayes, George R. Hoffmann, John A. Ives, Zbigniew Jaworowski, Thomas E .Johnson, Wayne B. Jonas, Norbert E. Kaminski, John G. Keller, James E. Klaunig, Thomas B. Knudsen, Walter J. Kozumbo, Teresa Lettieri, Shu-Zheng Liu, Andre Maisseu, Kenneth I . Maynard, Edward J. Masoro, Roger O. McClellan, Harihara M. Mehendale, Carmel Mothersill, David B. Newlin, Herbert N. Nigg, Frederick W. Oehme, Robert F. Phalen, Martin A. Philbert, Suresh I. S. Rattan, Jim E. Riviere, Joseph Rodricks, Robert M. Sapolsky, Bobby R. Scott, Colin Seymour, David A. Sinclair, Joan Smith-Sonneborn, Elizabeth T. Snow, Linda Spear, Donald E. Stevenson, Yolene Thomas, Maurice Tubiana, Gary M. Williams, Mark P. Mattson

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, v. 222, issue 1, p. 122-128