Geoffrey Wingfield Harris (1913-1971), padre de la neuroendocrinología
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Geoffrey Harris
anterior pituitary gland
pulsatile secretion
releasing hormones
history of medicine

How to Cite

Jacome-Roca, A. (2023). Geoffrey Wingfield Harris (1913-1971), padre de la neuroendocrinología . Revista Colombiana De Endocrinología, Diabetes &Amp; Metabolismo, 10(4).


Background: The purpose of this narrative review is to highlight the work of Geoffrey W. Harris on the relationship between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, particularly the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. His structuring of neuroendocrinology served as the basis for the important studies on hypothalamic hormones carried out by Schally and Guillemin, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1977.

Contents: The life and work of the British anatomist George W. Harris (1913-1971) is described. Father of neuroendocrinology, medical professional and researcher, he studied the relationship of ovulation with the pituitary gland and with influences or hypothalamic factors, the pulsatility in the release of GnRH triggered by estrogens at the time of ovulation, and in 1955 he made a monograph with all the advances in neuroendocrinology, achieved in the previous 100 years up to that date. Mention is made of the pioneering contributions of Oliver and Schaffer (catecholamines), Ernst and Bertha Shearer, and Vincent Du Vignaud (neurohypophysial hormones), also Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1955, whose site of action (acuaporines) was revealed by Peter Agre, Nobel Prize in 2003.

Conclusions: Harris' anatomical studies of hypothalamic cells, the pituitary portal system, and their relationship with those of the anterior pituitary gland, served to structure neuroendocrinology. At first he thought that the nerve stimulation was direct, but this was only for the neurohypophysis. The rich irrigation and the discovery of the pituitary portal system led him to think that the stimulus was hormonal, through hypothalamic neuropeptides.
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