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June 7, 1941


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pharmacology, Washington University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1941;116(23):2590-2596. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.62820230008010a

Epinephrine has been studied extensively as a physiologic and as a pharmacologic agent. The subject has wide ramifications, and only what appear to be the most significant findings can be discussed in the space available.

ISOLATION OF EPINEPHRINE  The staining reactions described by Vulpian (green color with ferric chloride) and by Henle (brownish yellow color with dichromates) offered the first evidence for the presence in the medulla of the adrenal gland of a substance absent from most other tissues. Following the observation by Oliver and Schäfer1 of the remarkable pressor effect of extracts of the adrenal medulla, intensive efforts were made to isolate the blood pressure-raising principle. Takamine2 and Aldrich3 isolated the free base, while Abel4 reported the isolation of a crystalline substance, which was later shown to be a benzoyl derivative formed during isolation. The name "epinephrine," proposed by Abel for this derivative, was subsequently