Of the organs reputed to have an internal secretion, the pineal body has thus far successfully eluded all efforts to determine its function. As patients with tumors of this organ have been found to exhibit changes characteristic of precocious puberty, a relationship of the pineal body to sexual physiology has been postulated. But the results of pinealectomy in the hands of different investigators have been conflicting and confusing. Uniform effects on the primary or secondary sexual apparatus in either male or female could not be elicited.
The discovery independently by Silberstein and Engel1 in Vienna and by Saphir2 in Chicago that the pineal body contains estrogenic substance adds to the problem of the physiologic rôle of this organ. Silberstein and Engel worked with the pineal bodies of steers and calves, Saphir with those from human beings; the presence of estrogenic substance could readily be demonstrated by the Allen-Doisy
THE PINEAL BODY. JAMA. 1934;103(21):1626. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750470048014