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Dose Response. 2011;9(2):209-24. doi: 10.2203/dose-response.10-004.Wiegant. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Postconditioning hormesis put in perspective: an overview of experimental and clinical studies.

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University College, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.; Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


A beneficial effect of applying mild stress to cells or organisms, that were initially exposed to a high dose of stress, has been referred to as 'postconditioning hormesis'. The initial high dose of stress activates intrinsic self-recovery mechanisms. Modulation of these endogenous adaptation strategies by administration of a subsequent low dose of stress can confer effects that are beneficial to the biological system. Owing to its potentially therapeutic applications, postconditioning hormesis is subject to research in various scientific disciplines. This paper presents an overview of the dynamics of postconditioning hormesis and illustrates this phenomenon with a number of examples in experimental and clinical research.


adaptive response; hormesis; postconditioning; postexposure; preconditioning

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