skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Nature and Consequences of Biological Reductionism for the Immunological Study of Infectious Diseases

Abstract

Evolution has conserved “economic” systems that perform many functions, faster or better, with less. For example, three to five leukocyte types protect from thousands of pathogens. In order to achieve so much with so little, biological systems combine their limited elements, creating complex structures. Yet, the prevalent research paradigm is reductionist. Focusing on infectious diseases, reductionist and non-reductionist views are here described. Furthermore, the literature indicates that reductionism is associated with information loss and errors, while non-reductionist operations can extract more information from the same data. When designed to capture one-to-many/many-to-one interactions—including the use of arrows that connect pairs of consecutive observations—non-reductionist (spatial–temporal) constructs eliminate data variability from all dimensions, except along one line, while arrows describe the directionality of temporal changes that occur along the line. To validate the patterns detected by non-reductionist operations, reductionist procedures are needed. Integrated (non-reductionist and reductionist) methods can (i) distinguish data subsets that differ immunologically and statistically; (ii) differentiate false-negative from -positive errors; (iii) discriminate disease stages; (iv) capture in vivo, multilevel interactions that consider the patient, the microbe, and antibiotic-mediated responses; and (v) assess dynamics. Integrated methods provide repeatable and biologically interpretable information.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [1];  [5];  [6];  [2];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10]; ORCiD logo [11];  [12]
  1. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Kimron Veterinary Inst., Bet Dagan (Israel). National Mastitis Center
  3. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Seattle, WA (United States); Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
  4. Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Inst. (CINVESTAV), Merida (Mexico)
  5. National and Kapodistrian Univ., Athens (Greece)
  6. Univ. of Peloponnese, Sparta (Greece)
  7. Univ. of Milan (Italy)
  8. Univ. of Cyprus, Nicosia (Cyprus)
  9. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Dept. of Internal Medicine
  10. Univ. of Cyprus, Nicosia (Cyprus). Dept. of Biological Sciences
  11. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Biosecurity and Public Health
  12. Univ. of Strasbourg (France). National Center of Scientific Research
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1374353
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-22486
Journal ID: ISSN 1664-3224
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Immunology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-3224
Publisher:
Frontiers Research Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Biological Science; Reductionism, infectious diseases; methods; host–microbe interactions; reductionism; non-reductionism; pattern recognition

Citation Formats

Rivas, Ariel L., Leitner, Gabriel, Jankowski, Mark D., Hoogesteijn, Almira L., Iandiorio, Michelle J., Chatzipanagiotou, Stylianos, Ioannidis, Anastasios, Blum, Shlomo E., Piccinini, Renata, Antoniades, Athos, Fazio, Jane C., Apidianakis, Yiorgos, Fair, Jeanne M., and Van Regenmortel, Marc H. V. Nature and Consequences of Biological Reductionism for the Immunological Study of Infectious Diseases. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00612.
Rivas, Ariel L., Leitner, Gabriel, Jankowski, Mark D., Hoogesteijn, Almira L., Iandiorio, Michelle J., Chatzipanagiotou, Stylianos, Ioannidis, Anastasios, Blum, Shlomo E., Piccinini, Renata, Antoniades, Athos, Fazio, Jane C., Apidianakis, Yiorgos, Fair, Jeanne M., & Van Regenmortel, Marc H. V. Nature and Consequences of Biological Reductionism for the Immunological Study of Infectious Diseases. United States. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00612.
Rivas, Ariel L., Leitner, Gabriel, Jankowski, Mark D., Hoogesteijn, Almira L., Iandiorio, Michelle J., Chatzipanagiotou, Stylianos, Ioannidis, Anastasios, Blum, Shlomo E., Piccinini, Renata, Antoniades, Athos, Fazio, Jane C., Apidianakis, Yiorgos, Fair, Jeanne M., and Van Regenmortel, Marc H. V. Wed . "Nature and Consequences of Biological Reductionism for the Immunological Study of Infectious Diseases". United States. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00612. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1374353.
@article{osti_1374353,
title = {Nature and Consequences of Biological Reductionism for the Immunological Study of Infectious Diseases},
author = {Rivas, Ariel L. and Leitner, Gabriel and Jankowski, Mark D. and Hoogesteijn, Almira L. and Iandiorio, Michelle J. and Chatzipanagiotou, Stylianos and Ioannidis, Anastasios and Blum, Shlomo E. and Piccinini, Renata and Antoniades, Athos and Fazio, Jane C. and Apidianakis, Yiorgos and Fair, Jeanne M. and Van Regenmortel, Marc H. V.},
abstractNote = {Evolution has conserved “economic” systems that perform many functions, faster or better, with less. For example, three to five leukocyte types protect from thousands of pathogens. In order to achieve so much with so little, biological systems combine their limited elements, creating complex structures. Yet, the prevalent research paradigm is reductionist. Focusing on infectious diseases, reductionist and non-reductionist views are here described. Furthermore, the literature indicates that reductionism is associated with information loss and errors, while non-reductionist operations can extract more information from the same data. When designed to capture one-to-many/many-to-one interactions—including the use of arrows that connect pairs of consecutive observations—non-reductionist (spatial–temporal) constructs eliminate data variability from all dimensions, except along one line, while arrows describe the directionality of temporal changes that occur along the line. To validate the patterns detected by non-reductionist operations, reductionist procedures are needed. Integrated (non-reductionist and reductionist) methods can (i) distinguish data subsets that differ immunologically and statistically; (ii) differentiate false-negative from -positive errors; (iii) discriminate disease stages; (iv) capture in vivo, multilevel interactions that consider the patient, the microbe, and antibiotic-mediated responses; and (v) assess dynamics. Integrated methods provide repeatable and biologically interpretable information.},
doi = {10.3389/fimmu.2017.00612},
journal = {Frontiers in Immunology},
number = ,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed May 31 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed May 31 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:
  • The effects of global climate change on infectious diseases are hypothetical until more is known about the degree of change in temperature and humidity that will occur. Diseases most likely to increase in their distribution and severity have three-factor (agent, vector, and human being) and four-factor (plus vertebrate reservoir host) ecology. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes may move northward and have more rapid metamorphosis with global warming. These mosquitoes transmit dengue virus, and Aedes aegypti transmits yellow fever virus. The faster metamorphosis and a shorter extrinsic incubation of dengue and yellow fever viruses could lead to epidemics in Northmore » America. Vibrio cholera is harbored persistently in the estuaries of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Over the past 200 years, cholera has become pandemic seven times with spread from Asia to Europe, Africa, and North America. Global warming may lead to changes in water ecology that could enhance similar spread of cholera in North America. Some other infectious diseases such as LaCrosse encephalitis and Lyme disease are caused by agents closely dependent on the integrity of their environment. These diseases may become less prominent with global warming because of anticipated modification of their habitats. Ecological studies will help as to understand more fully the possible consequences of global warming. New and more effective methods for control of vectors will be needed. 12 refs., 1 tab.« less
  • Given the increasing importance of impact of global warming on public health, there is no global database system to monitor infectious disease and disease in general, and to which global data of climate change and environmental factors, such as temperature, greenhouse gases, and human activities, e.g., coastal development, deforestation, can be calibrated, investigated and correlated. The author proposes the diseases incidence rates be adopted as the basic global measure of morbidity of infectious diseases. The importance of a correctly chosen measure of morbidity of disease is presented. The importance of choosing disease incidence rates as the measure of morbidity andmore » the mathematical foundation of which are discussed. The author further proposes the establishment of a global database system to track the incidence rates of infectious diseases. Only such a global system can be used to calibrate and correlate other globally tracked climatic, greenhouse gases and environmental data. The infrastructure and data sources for building such a global database is discussed.« less
  • When smallpox was eradicated from the globe in the late 1970s, many health experts assumed that infectious and parasitic diseases (IPDs) could at long last be conquered. Death rates from infectious and parasitic diseases had declined during the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century thanks to better public health and sanitation as well as medical advances made possible by economic development. During this period, scientists discovered the germ theory of disease, identified the epidemiology and natural history of many infectious diseases, and created a host of potent antibiotic drugs that helped save millions of lives. Medical researchers learnedmore » to identify and cultivate viruses, which led to vaccines for increasing numbers of diseases.« less
  • The application of structural genomics methods and approaches to proteins from organisms causing infectious diseases is making available the three dimensional structures of many proteins that are potential drug targets and laying the groundwork for structure aided drug discovery efforts. There are a number of structural genomics projects with a focus on pathogens that have been initiated worldwide. The Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) was recently established to apply state-of-the-art high throughput structural biology technologies to the characterization of proteins from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) category A-C pathogens and organisms causing emerging,more » or re-emerging infectious diseases. The target selection process emphasizes potential biomedical benefits. Selected proteins include known drug targets and their homologs, essential enzymes, virulence factors and vaccine candidates. The Center also provides a structure determination service for the infectious disease scientific community. The ultimate goal is to generate a library of structures that are available to the scientific community and can serve as a starting point for further research and structure aided drug discovery for infectious diseases. To achieve this goal, the CSGID will determine protein crystal structures of 400 proteins and protein-ligand complexes using proven, rapid, highly integrated, and cost-effective methods for such determination, primarily by X-ray crystallography. High throughput crystallographic structure determination is greatly aided by frequent, convenient access to high-performance beamlines at third-generation synchrotron X-ray sources.« less
  • A model is presented of infectious disease in heterogeneous populations, which allows for variable intra- to intergroup contact ratios. The authors give necessary and sufficient conditions for disease eradication by means of vaccination. Smallpox is used as an illustrative example.