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Diabetologia

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 72–75 | Cite as

Alloxan diabetes: The sorcerer and his apprentice

  • N. G. B. McLetchie
Historical Notes

Summary

The remarkable discovery of alloxan diabetes came about between a Professor of Pathology and an apprentice who was foisted on him. The Professor (J. Shaw Dunn) had a lifetime behind him largely dedicated to studies on the kidney and particularly reno-tubular necrosis. The apprentice (McLetchie), despite overburdening duties and discouragement against endocrine research in wartime, developed a passion for endocrine investigation. A Colonel Sheehan (later to be enshrined in Sheehan's syndrome) in a brief wartime collaboration with the apprentice left him with a vivid description of hypoglycaemia associated with post-partum pituitary necrosis. The apprentice saw this behaviour paralleled in rabbits which had been given alloxan in a vague belief that it would further wartime research on the Crush Kidney syndrome. And so, alloxan diabetes was born. Shaw Dunn achieved some posthumous recognition and World War 2 closed over the other actors in the scene.

Keywords

Public Health Internal Medicine Human Physiology Metabolic Disease Alloxan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    McLetchie NGB (1944) On staining the basophil cells of the human hypophysis. J Endocrinol 3: 323–331Google Scholar
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    McLetchie NGB (1944) The pituitary basophilism syndrome of Harvey Cushing. J Endocrinol 3: 332–346Google Scholar
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    McLetchie NGB, Scott LDW (1944) Carcinoma of an adreno-cortical rest associated with hypophyseal abnormality. J Endocrinol 3: 347–355Google Scholar
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    McLetchie NGB (1944) Adrenal virilism, Br J Surg 32: 90–98Google Scholar
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    Sheehan HL, McLetchie NGB (1945) Simmond's disease due to post-partum necrosis of the anterior pituitary. J Ob Gyn of B.E. 50: 27–30Google Scholar
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    Dunn JS, Gillespie M, Niven JSF (1941) Renal lesions in the Crush Syndrome. Lancet 2: 549–552Google Scholar
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    McLetchie NGB (1943) Renal lesions in a case of excessive vomiting. J Path Bact 45: 17–22Google Scholar
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    Dunn J Shaw, Sheehan HL, McLetchie NGB (1943) Necrosis of the islets of Langerhans produced experimentally. Lancet 1: 484–487Google Scholar
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    Dunn J Shaw, McLetchie NGB (1943) Experimental alloxan diabetes in the rat. Lancet 2: 384–386Google Scholar
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    Dunn J Shaw, Kirkpatrick J, McLetchie NGB, Telfer SV (1943) Necrosis of the islets of Langerhans produced experimentally. J Path Bact 45: 245–257Google Scholar
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    Dunn J Shaw, Duffy E, Gilmour MK, Kirkpatrick J, McLetchie NGB (1944) Further observations on the effects of alloxan on the pancreatic islets. J Physiol 103: 233–243Google Scholar
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    McLetchie NGB (1942) Studies on the relationship of the basophil cells of the hypophysis to the adrenal cortex. MD Thesis: University of GlasgowGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. G. B. McLetchie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyLakes Region General HospitalLaconiaUSA

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