Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 761–770 | Cite as

Xenohormesis: health benefits from an eon of plant stress response evolution

  • Philip L. HooperEmail author
  • Paul L. Hooper
  • Michael Tytell
  • Lászlo Vígh
Mini Review


Xenohormesis is a biological principle that explains how environmentally stressed plants produce bioactive compounds that can confer stress resistance and survival benefits to animals that consume them. Animals can piggyback off products of plants' sophisticated stress response which has evolved as a result of their stationary lifestyle. Factors eliciting the plant stress response can judiciously be employed to maximize yield of health-promoting plant compounds. The xenohormetic plant compounds can, when ingested, improve longevity and fitness by activating the animal's cellular stress response and can be applied in drug discovery, drug production, and nutritional enhancement of diet.


Xenohormesis Hormesis Mutualism Heat shock proteins Ethnopharmacology Food production 



The authors thank Ben Sherwood of the Linnean Society library for references and David Campbell, Jeff Leung, and Konrad Howitz for helpful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip L. Hooper
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Paul L. Hooper
    • 2
  • Michael Tytell
    • 3
  • Lászlo Vígh
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and DiabetesUniversity of Colorado Denver, School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anthropology and Program in Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurobiology and AnatomyWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.Institute of BiochemistryBiological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary
  5. 5.Glen HavenUSA

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