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September 1939


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1939;64(3):483-492. doi:10.1001/archinte.1939.00190030076005

The presence of a ferment, phosphatase, in the bones of young rats was demonstrated by Robison1 in 1932. This ferment hydrolyzes the phosphoric esters of hexosephosphate, glycerophosphate and nucleoprotein. One of the resulting products of such hydrolysis is inorganic phosphorus. Therefore, this ferment plays an important role in the deposition of calcium in bone, in carbohydrate metabolism, in renal metabolism and indirectly in the maintenance of the proper hydrogen ion concentration of blood. Its ubiquitous nature in body tissues has been shown by Bodansky2 and Kay.3 So complex are the physiologic functions of phosphatase that the complexity can be matched only by the chemical complexity of the liver itself. All investigators have found an increase of serum phosphatase in such diverse diseases as osteitis deformans,4 hyperparathyroidism,5 rickets5 and obstructive jaundice.6 The exact significance of this increase is unknown. Regarding other conditions, notably chronicatrophie arthritis and the healing of bone