Tag Archives: T. Reichstein

Development on knowledge of hormone biochemistry in the works of the Nobel prize laureates of the first half of the 20th century: F. G. Banting, John J. R. Macleod, H. O. Wieland, A. O. Windaus, A. F. Butenandt, L. Ružička, E.Kendall, P. Hench, T. Reichstein

R. P. Vynogradova, V. M. Danilova, S. V. Komisarenko

Palladin Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;
e-mail: valdan@biochem.kiev.ua

Received: 18 February 2019; Accepted: 14 March 2019

The first half of the 20th century was marked by significant scientific advances in the study of hormones and vitamins. Among the first resear­chers working with hormones were F. Banting and J. Macleod, who discovered and characterized the pancreatic hormone insulin. This discovery catalyzed advances in the understanding of the mechanisms regulating biochemical processes – a new topic in the field of biological chemistry. The next important stage in the development of knowledge on biologically active substances was the works of organic chemists G. Wieland, A. Windaus, A. Butenandt and L. Ružička. They almost simultaneously identified and characterized the chemical structures of bile acids, vitamin D as well as female and male sex hormones. They found that all of these compounds are of a steroid nature and identified cholesterol as the starting material for their synthesis in the body. The studies of highly-active substances of steroid nature were continued by E. Kendall, F. Hench and T. Reichstein. They synthesized and investigated the structure and biological effects of corticosteroids, the hormones produced in the adrenal cortex. They were first to develop a method for the commercial manufacturing of cortisone, a hormone which is widely used to treat inflammatory processes.
Thus, in the first half of the 20th century, organic chemists gave biochemists knowledge on the structure of essential for the human body substances – steroid compounds.