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Vincent du Vigneaud: following the sulfur trail to the discovery of the hormones of the posterior pituitary gland at Cornell Medical College.

TitleVincent du Vigneaud: following the sulfur trail to the discovery of the hormones of the posterior pituitary gland at Cornell Medical College.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsOttenhausen M, Bodhinayake I, Banu MA, Stieg PE, Schwartz TH
JournalJ Neurosurg
Volume124
Issue5
Pagination1538-42
Date Published2016 May
ISSN1933-0693
KeywordsHistory, 20th Century, Nobel Prize, Pituitary Hormones, Posterior, Schools, Medical, Sulfur Compounds, United States
Abstract

In 1955, Vincent du Vigneaud (1901-1978), the chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research on insulin and for the first synthesis of the posterior pituitary hormones-oxytocin and vasopressin. His tremendous contribution to organic chemistry, which began as an interest in sulfur-containing compounds, paved the way for a better understanding of the pituitary gland and for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools for diseases of the pituitary. His seminal research continues to impact neurologists, endocrinologists, and neurosurgeons, and enables them to treat patients who had no alternatives prior to du Vigneaud's breakthroughs in peptide structure and synthesis. The ability of neurosurgeons to aggressively operate on parasellar pathology was directly impacted and related to the ability to replace these hormones after surgery. The authors review the life and career of Vincent du Vigneaud, his groundbreaking discoveries, and his legacy of the understanding and treatment of the pituitary gland in health and disease.

DOI10.3171/2015.5.JNS141952
Alternate JournalJ Neurosurg
PubMed ID26517776