Similia principle:Results obtained in cellular model system

Fred Wiegant1,* and Roeland Van Wijk1,2
Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
2 International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss, Germany

This paper describes the results of a research program focused on the beneficial effect of   low dose stress conditions that were applied according to the similia principle to cells previously disturbed by more severe stress conditions. In first instance, we discuss criteria for  research  on   the   similia   principle    at  the   cellular   level.   Then,    the   homologous  (‘isopathic’) approach is reviewed, in which the initial (high dose) stress used to disturb   cellular physiology and the subsequent (low dose) stress are identical.

Beneficial effects of low dose stress are described in terms of increased cellular survival capacity and at the molecular level as an increase in the synthesis of heat shock proteins  (hsps). Both phenomena reflect a stimulation of the endogenous cellular self-recovery capacity. Low dose stress conditions applied in a homologous approach stimulate the synthesis  of  hsps  and  enhance  survival  in  comparison  with  stressed  cells  that  were incubated  in  the  absence  of  low  dose  stress  conditions.  Thirdly,  the  specificity  of  the   low dose stress condition is described where the initial (high dose) stress is different in  nature  from  the  subsequently  applied  (low  dose)  stress;  the  heterologous  or  ‘heteropathic’ approach.

The results support the similia principle at the cellular level and add to understanding  of how low dose  stress  conditions influence  the regulatory processes underlying  self recovery. In addition, the phenomenon of ‘symptom aggravation’ which is also observed at the cellular level, is discussed in the context of self-recovery. Finally, the difference in   efficiency     between      the   homologous        and   the   heterologous       approach      is  discussed;  a perspective is indicated for further research; and the relationship between studies on  the similia principle and the recently introduced concept of ‘postconditioning hormesis’    is emphasized.

Keywords:  Similia principle; Self-recovery; Adaptive response; Symptom  aggravation; Postconditioning hormesis; Homeopathy

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