Nervous Influences in Endocrine Activity
Part of the
Perspectives in Neuroendocrine Research
book series (PNR, volume 1)
My first reaction on being asked to contribute personal reminiscences to the subject of neuroendocrinology was one of disbelief that I had ever worked in this field. I was then reminded by one of the editors that the subject covered every aspect of the relation between the nervous system and endocrine glands, and I suddenly realized that my very first efforts in the field of endocrinology were about nervous influences on endocrine activity. In 1929, Paul Trendelenburg had taken the chair of pharmacology in Berlin, and attracted to his institute a group of recently qualified medical graduates. These flocked to his laboratory to work without pay as “apprentices” in research, a custom now unknown and forgotten the world over. This happy state of affairs was cruelly interrupted by Trendelenburg’s premature death early in 1931. During 1930, Trendelenburg was writing a monograph on the endocrine glands, and suggested that I should work on two neuroendocrine problems. The first was the nervous control of thyroid activity. This gland has a sympathetic innervation and the question was whether the nerves could act by enabling the gland to adapt its secretion to the varying needs of the body as determined by food intake. The answer was a clear-cut no. After sympathectomy, and even after cervical cord transection, the secretory state of the gland (assessed histologically) varied with the nutritional state, showing colloid storage during fasting and colloid discharge after feeding.
KeywordsAdrenal Cortex Adrenal Medulla ACTH Release Pharmacology Department Great Superficial Petrosal Nerve
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