Julius Axelrod

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Axelrod, Julius

(ăk`səlrŏd), 1912–2004, American biochemist whose work was influential in the development of pharmaceuticals, b. New York City, grad. City College, N.Y. (B.S. 1933), New York Univ. (M.S. 1941), George Washington Univ. (Ph.D. 1955). Axelrod spent much of his career at the National Institutes of Health (1949–84), where from 1955 to 1984 he was chief of the Section on Pharmacology, Laboratory of Science, at the National Institute of Mental Health. Along with Bernard Katz and Ulf von Euler, Axelrod was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for work on neurotransmittersneurotransmitter,
chemical that transmits information across the junction (synapse) that separates one nerve cell (neuron) from another nerve cell or a muscle. Neurotransmitters are stored in the nerve cell's bulbous end (axon).
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. During the late 1950s and early 1960s Axelrod's investigations into the role of norepinephrine in brain chemistry led to an understanding of how neurotransmitters work and how their levels are regulated. This research made possible the development of the antidepressants and antianxiety drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In the 1940s Axelrod helped identify the analgesic properties of acetaminophenacetaminophen
, an analgesic and fever-reducing medicine. It is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter medicines, including Tylenol and Midol. Introduced in the early 1900s, acetaminophen is a coal tar derivative that acts by interfering with the synthesis of
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, and in the 1960s he explained the nature of melatonin and the role of it and the pineal glandpineal gland
, small organ (about the size of a pea) situated in the brain. Long considered vestigial in humans, the structure, which is also called the pineal body or the epiphysis, is present in most vertebrates.
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 played in regulating biological rhythms (see rhythm, biologicalrhythm, biological,
cyclic pattern of physiological changes or changes in activity in living organisms, most often synchronized with daily, monthly, or annual cyclical changes in the environment.
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).

Axelrod, Julius

 

Born May 30, 1912, in New York. American physiologist and pharmacologist. Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (1971).

Axelrod received his B.S. from City College in New York in 1933, and he later received his Ph.D. He performed research at New York University from 1945 to 1949. He joined the staff of the National Heart Institute in Bethesda, Md., in 1949 and was appointed head of the pharmacology section of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1955.

Axelrod’s principal works deal with the metabolism of norepinephrine; he discovered the basic way in which norepinephrine is rendered inactive. He also studied the role of disrupted catecholamine metabolism in the pathogenesis of hypertonia and certain diseases of the nervous system.

Axelrod shared a Nobel Prize with B. Katz and U. von Euler in 1970.

WORKS

“Metabolism of Epinephrine and Other Sympathomimetic Amines.” Physiological Review, 1959, vol. 39.
“Methylation Reactions in the Formation and Metabolism of Catecholamines and Other Biogenic Amines.” Pharmacological Reviews, 1966, vol. 18.

Axelrod, Julius

(1912–  ) pharmacologist; born in New York City. He was a chemist at the Laboratory of Industrial Hygiene (New York City) (1935–45), and a research associate at Goldwater Memorial Hospital (New York City) (1946–49). He became a biochemist for the National Heart Institute (1949–55), then joined the National Institute for Mental Health (1955–84), remaining as a guest worker (1984). His studies of neurotransmission of adrenalin and amphetamines led to his investigations into psychoactive drugs for treatment of mental illness, including schizophrenia. He shared the 1970 Nobel Prize for physiology for his work on chemical neurotransmission and pharmacological interactions.