Introduction and General Mechanisms of Hormonal Actions

  • John A. Thomas
  • Edward J. Keenan


Claude Bernard’s many brilliant contributions to medicine and science included the discovery of glycogen in 1857, but it was von Mering and Minkowski who performed the classic endocrine experiments involving the removal of the canine pancreas. During the intervening years, many unsuccessful attempts were made to isolate the active antidiabetic factor until Banting and Best infused an extract into a depancreatized dog on November 19, 1921 and brought about a reduction in blood sugar; it was this study that most likely gave way to the widespread acceptance of hormonal replacement therapy. About 4 years later, Abel successfully prepared crystalline insulin, which not only substantiated its importance in the etiology of diabetes mellitus, but for the first time introduced the concept that specific protein possessed inherent physiological activity. Of all the hormonal replacement therapies used in modern medicine, insulin treatment in the patient with diabetes mellitus remains of paramount importance. Recent successes in the synthesis of proteins with the same amino acid sequences as those found in human insulin have been achieved using bacterial systems. Such biochemical accomplishments could eventually lead to the obsolescence of using animal-derived insulins for the therapeutic management of diabetes mellitus in humans, thereby reducing the immunological differences between the pancreatic hormones obtained from different species.


Luteinizing Hormone Hormonal Replacement Therapy Oral Antidiabetic Agent Hormone Antagonist Hormone Substitute 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Thomas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Edward J. Keenan
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Corporate ResearchTravenol Laboratories, Inc.Round LakeUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyNorthwestern University School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyNorthwestern University School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyWest Virginia School of MedicineMorgantownUSA
  5. 5.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Illinois School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Department of PharmacologyRush-Presbyterian School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  7. 7.Hormone Receptor Laboratory, School of MedicineThe Oregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA
  8. 8.Department of Surgery, School of MedicineThe Oregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA
  9. 9.Department of Pharmacology, School of MedicineThe Oregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA
  10. 10.Department of Medicine (Medical Oncology), School of MedicineThe Oregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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