Posterior Pituitary Hormones, Oxytocics, and Prostaglandins

  • John A. Thomas
  • Edward J. Keenan


The posterior pituitary hormones were the first biologically active peptides to be isolated, to be characterized for their amino acid sequence, and to be subsequently synthesized, by du Vigneaud. However, interest in the biological actions of secretions of the neurohypophysis date back nearly 200 years. Oliver and Schaffer described the pressor effects of pituitary extracts as early 1894. Three years later, Howell tracked these pressor substances of the pituitary gland to the neurohypophysis itself. Shortly after the discovery of the vasopressor actions of these neurohypophyseal extracts, the antidiuretic properties of posterior lobe extracts were described. In 1906, Sir Henry Dale reported that extracts of the posterior pituitary caused a stimulation of uterine smooth muscle. Although an awareness of the differences between diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus was recognized during the late 1700s, it was not until 1913 that injections of posterior pituitary extracts were observed to cause an improvement in the treatment of diabetes insipidus.


Diabetes Insipidus Postpartum Bleeding Ergot Alkaloid Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus Central Diabetes Insipidus 
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Recommended Readings

Posterior Pituitary Hormones

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Ergot Alkaloids

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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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