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April 1, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(13):1037. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500400041006

Lecithin is a substance of importance not only to the physiologic chemist but also to the pathologist and to the biologist. The more it is studied the more remarkable are the properties it manifests; and this is of additional interest in view of the fact that, from a chemical point of view at least, it is a comparatively simple body, being a combination of four substances, phosphoric acid, glycerin, a fatty acid and a base, cholin. all simple compounds whose chemical formulæ are well known. It is found in probably every cell in the animal body and undoubtedly plays a most important rôle in the metabolism of the cell, forming with albumins a combination known as lecithoproteids, from which it may easily be split off. It also furnishes the phosphorus in the synthesis of the important class of proteids known as the nucleins.

As a remarkable property of lecithin may