An English paper by Dr. Tetsumori Yamashima, a neurosurgeon and neuroscience researcher, has been accepted for publication in a medical journal, Highlights on Medicine and Medical Research Vol. 10. Dr. Yamashima is also a member of our research foundation and provided us with his paper as part of our efforts to disseminate information about Dr. Takamine to people overseas.
Adrenaline Hunters: Past, Present and Future at 1900
Adrenal gland was first described by the Italian anatomist Eustachio in 1564, but its physiologic role remained unknown for three centuries. Even after the report of Addison’s disease in 1855, nobody knew its function. Oliver and Schäfer first discovered the blood pressure-raising property of adrenal extracts in 1894. Accordingly, in the late 1890’s, highly motivated scientists had directed their attention to isolate active principle for the therapeutic utilization, but all failed. For instance, Abel’s preparation ‘epinephrine’ was an inactive benzoylated derivative. In August 5, 1900 the Japanese industrial chemist Takamine and his young associate Uenaka settled in New York, succeeded to crystallize the adrenal extract by a procedure different from any yet employed. The active principle was isolated in the vacuum pan, crystallized with ammonia, and confirmed by the Vulpian reaction.
‘Uenaka’s Experimental Memorandum’ describes that the novel crystal was coined ‘adrenalin’ (no “e”) on November 7, 1900. Simultaneously, Takamine applied the US patent which was approved on June 2, 1903, and Parke, Davis & Company trademarked the name ‘Adrenalin’ to market worldwide. As a hemostatic during surgery and for treating heart failure, adrenaline has saved numerous lives. There are historical, etymological and practical justifications for using the term ‘adrenaline’.