Appreciation of the importance of the suprarenal glands for life came primarily from the clinic and the necropsy room. Chronic suprarenal insufficiency was first described by Addison in 1855. "The disease develops in the third and fourth decade of life, usually insidiously, with adynamia and apathy. To these are added disturbances of the digestive tract (constipation alternating with diarrheas), pigmenting of the skin and mucous membranes: the patients succumb under a gradually increasing cachexia, not rarely with stormy terminal manifestations; autopsy almost always shows disease of both suprarenals, mostly tuberculous caseation." Thus reads the classic description of Addison's disease. The indispensability of the suprarenals has since been abundantly verified by extirpation experiments on various animal species.
In reviewing the physiologic literature of this subject, Britton1 designates it as perhaps one of the most baffling facts to experimental physiologists today that all common laboratory animals from which the suprarenal glands
ADDISON'S DISEASE. JAMA. 1930;95(24):1836-1837. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720240046015