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May 1957

Amelioration of Diabetes Mellitus Due to Pituitary Necrosis

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

USPHS Hospital.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;99(5):814-816. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260050142014

The mutually antagonistic action of insulin and of a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland was demonstrated by experimental work reported by Houssay and Biasotti in 1931. These workers found that the diabetes observed in hypophysectomized-depancreatized dogs was much less severe than was that seen in dogs in which the pancreas alone had been removed.1 As contrasted to the depancreatized dogs, the hypophysectomized-depancreatized animals displayed a relative drop in blood sugar level, a trend toward spontaneous hypoglycemia with fasting, a slight decrease in nitrogen excretion, an absence of ketosis, and a survival of several months' duration without insulin. Subsequent investigations revealed this phenomenon to occur in various other mammals and in amphibians as well.2

This phenomenon, which has become known as the Houssay phenomenon, has been observed rarely in man. In a recent review of the literature, Harvey and de Klerk found only 11 previously reported cases,

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