Glossary

Autoregulation

the property of feedback loops in biological networks to provide stability to a network , thereby limiting the range of network component fluctuations.

Autoregulatory network

the biological network of feedback loops that regulates homeostasis and underlies an organism’s autoregulatory ability.

Biological complexity

a concept referring to the intricate interconnectedness of the multiple units of a human organism based on fairly stable patterns of evolutionary conservation.

Biological information

a property of a biological component or components that influences, affects, or directs development and maintenance of the organism. There are two major types of biological information: sequence information encoding molecular machineries, and regulatory network information controlling the behavior of molecular machineries.

Biological network

a web-like pattern of connectivity between molecules, cells, tissues, or organs that describes a behavior of a given system (a specific set of molecules characterized by structure or function, a cell, a tissue, a specific set of tissues or organs, or an organism) as a whole. The nodes of such a network represent biological units, and the edges display characteristics (strong or weak, close or distant) of relationships between the biological units.

Biomarker

a measurement reflecting the status of a biological system, where the measured response may be functional and physiological, biochemical at the cellular level, or a molecular interaction. Biomarkers provide information that may aid detection, diagnosis and treatment plan decisions.

Bioregulatory

having the properties of a therapeutic intervention, pharmacological or non-pharmacological, to induce an active biological process that is able to optimize or restore autoregulation of biological networks.

Cell turnover

a process by which older cells are eliminated by apoptosis and replaced by the division of the progenitor cells.

Disease network (diseasome)

the concept that many diseases are interconnected by shared pathophysiological events, such that correlations between phenotypes can be considered based on shared metabolic networks, gene networks, protein networks or shared networks of clinical data.

Disease progression

the worsening of a disease over time as the result of a progressive failure of the autoregulatory process.

Dynamic reciprocity

an ongoing, bidirectional interaction amongst cells and their surrounding microenvironment.

Dynamic equilibrium

a steady state of a biological network.

Extracellular matrix (ECM)

a complex network of material such as proteins and polysaccharides that are secreted locally by cells and remain closely associated with them to provide structural, adhesive and biochemical signaling support.

Functional modules

a group of directly or indirectly linked molecules (nodes) that work together to achieve an identifiably distinct function.

Homeostasis

a fundamental propertyof biological systems to preserve their stability by maintaining key regulated variables withing an acceptable range.

Inflammation resolution

an active biological process that requires activation of endogenous programs that enable the host tissue to maintain homeostasis.

Information flow

a concept in bioinformatics referring to the transmission of biological information within or across biological networks.

Linear

the idea (or model) suggesting that biological processes occur in a simple, sequential order.

Low affinity interactions

interactions between molecules with relatively low intermolecular force.

Medication with bioregulatory properties

drugs that execute regulatory activity in perturbed autoregulatory networks.

Microenvironment

local surroundings with which cells interact by processing various chemical and physical signals and by contributing their own effects to this environment.

Molecular coherence

the higher order stability in the behavior of molecules in the tissue, in response to the whole network of all other molecules within a cell.

Network perturbation

disturbance that causes structural or functional changes to the network that alter stability of a given system (cell, tissue, or organism) induced by internal or external mechanisms.

Non-linear

the idea (or model) suggesting that biological processes are determined by complex relational interactions.

Physiological inflammation

a stereotyped tightly controlled immune response initiated by the complex integration of tissue turnover and signal recognition by proinflammatory cells, resulting in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis.

Reductionist

in biology, a view that biological systems can be explained solely according to the physical and chemical properties of their individual components.

Robustness

a ubiquitously observed property of biological systems that maintains functions and performance against internal and external perturbations.

Stem cells

pluripotent cells that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types, or self-renew to produce more stem cells.

Systems biology

a study of biology that applies principles of systems theory. The studied systems in biology are comprised of molecules, cells, tissues, organisms and ecosystems.

Systems theory

a theory of scientific exploration proposed by L. von Bertanaffly, defining principles for studying complex systems of interrelated elements as a whole.

Systems medicine

the implementation of systems biology approaches in medical concepts, research and practice, through iterative and reciprocal feedback between and among data-driven computational and mathematical models, and model driven translation and clinical investigations.