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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00094

Toward a reasoned classification of diseases using physico-chemical based phenotypes

Laurent Schwartz1*, Olivier Lafitte2 and  Jorgelindo da Veiga Moreira3
  • 1Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris, France
  • 2UMR 7539, Université Paris 13, France
  • 3UMR 7161, Université Paris-Saclay, France

Background: Diseases and health conditions have been classified according to anatomical site, etiological and clinical criteria. Physico-chemical mechanisms underlying the biology of diseases, such as the flow of energy through cells and tissues, have been often overlooked in classification systems.

Objective: We propose a conceptual framework towards the development of an energy-oriented classification of diseases, based on the principles of physical-chemistry.

Methods: A review of literature on the physical-chemistry of biological interactions in a number of diseases is traced from the point of view of the fluid and solid mechanics, electricity, and chemistry.

Results: We found consistent evidence in literature of decreased or/and increased physical and chemical forces intertwined with biological processes of numerous diseases, which allowed the identification of mechanical, electric and chemical phenotypes of diseases.

Discussion: Biological mechanisms of diseases need to be evaluated and integrated into more comprehensive theories that should account with principles of physics and chemistry. A hypothetical model is proposed relating the natural history of diseases to mechanical stress, electric field and chemical equilibria (ATP) changes. The present perspective towards an innovative disease classification may improve drug-repurposing strategies in the future.

Keywords: Disease classification, Physico-chemical forces, Cell Membrane, Metabolism, Mitochondria

Received: 29 Sep 2017; Accepted: 29 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Rosalba Parenti, University of Catania, Italy

Reviewed by:

Fiona Hollis, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Massimiliano Filosto, Asst degli Spedali Civili di Brescia, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Schwartz, Lafitte and da Veiga Moreira. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Laurent Schwartz, Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris, Paris, France,