Sunn Bergstrem

Picture of Sunn Bergstrem

Date of Birth: 01/10/1916

Age: 100

Place of birth: Stockholm

Citizenship: Sweden


1938 BA held in England, working as a research fellow, University of London and studying the biochemistry of bile acids. These acids are formed by the liver cells and bile ducts allocated to the small intestine, where they participate in the digestion and absorption of lipids.

The following year, B. received a scholarship from the British Council to continue studies in Edinburgh, but the Second World War began at this time, and this scholarship has been canceled. In 1940, B. was a Swedish-American scholarship for training in the United States and worked for the next two years research associate at Columbia University in New York and at the Institute for Medical Research Squibb in New Jersey. There he collaborated with Oscar Vintershteynerom recognized authority in the field of auto-oxidation of cholesterol. Autoxidation - a chemical process in which a substance combines with oxygen at room temperature and normal pressure.

In 1942, B. term internship expired, and he returned to Sweden. In 1944 he received a medical degree at the Karolinska Institute and was appointed as an assistant Department of Biochemistry of the Nobel Medical Institute (Karolinska Institute). In this position, he worked for three years. At this time, B. studied the auto-oxidation of linoleic acid, which is part of some vegetable oils and essential in the human diet. Having found that the oxidation of the acid needed lipoxygenase enzyme contained in soybeans, B. took part in the clean-up of the enzyme in the laboratory of Hugo Theorell at the Karolinska Institute. In 1945, he reported the results of this work at the meeting of the Physiological Society at Karolinska Institutet.

Present at this meeting, Ulf von Euler subsequently told Boris about his research prostaglandins biologically active substances derived from the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Prostaglandins were first described in 1930 by a group of gynecologists ihirurgov College of Physicians at Columbia University. These researchers found that during the artificial insemination semen causes contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles of the uterus. Euler subsequently isolated from the ram seminal fluid substance also stimulates uterine contractions. He found that this substance reduces the tone of blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Euler called this substance prostaglandin, since it was first discovered in the secret of the prostate (prostate). In 1945, Euler gave extracts of the prostate gland B., who with the help of a new extraction unit of the United States was able to achieve a high degree of purification of these extracts. B. controlled extraction studies on a strip of rabbit smooth muscle. He said that "after cleaning to virtually weightless state" Prostaglandins "preserve unusual activity."

1946 B. spent as a researcher at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and then he was offered a professorship at the University of Lund in Sweden. With the support of the Swedish Medical Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health B. has worked on the restoration and development of the scientific departments of the University, which had been abandoned during the war. In addition, he was involved in the training of graduate students (one of his students was Bengt Samuelsson) and resumed his studies of prostaglandins. 50 ... 60-ies. he and his team collected and processed a large number of sheep seminal glands, which allowed us to obtain enough sperm to isolate and study the prostaglandin. In 1957, B. and his staff isolated and purified a small amount of the two compounds from this group. Their molecular weights and chemical formulas were determined by researchers at the Karolinska Institute Ragnar Rihage and other scientists from Stockholm and Uppsala. These joint efforts have led to the deciphering of the chemical structure of the first prostaglandin.

In 1958, B. was appointed professor of chemistry at the Karolinska Institute, where he soon became work and Samuelson. Over the next four years and his team B. 6 prostaglandins identified, each of which contain 20 carbon atoms and was similar in structure to certain fatty acids. This led to suggest that prostaglandins are formed from fatty acids. Test this hypothesis, BA in 1964 found that a precursor (ie a substance of which is synthesized) of prostaglandins is arachidonic acid - an unsaturated fatty acid, which is a part of vegetable oils and animal fats. Over the next few years, he has studied the way the formation of prostaglandins. In the course of their work, and B. Samuelsson found that arachidonic acid and enzymes necessary for the formation of prostaglandins from it, are found in all nucleated cells of animals. Different tissues emit different prostaglandins performing in turn the various biological functions. The most studied groups of prostaglandins E and F.

From 1963 to 1966, B. worked as the dean of the Medical Faculty at the Karolinska Institute, and from 1969 to 1977 - the rector of the institute. Over the years, the institute conducted a series of studies of the biological functions of prostaglandins. It was found that prostaglandins of group E have vasodilating action, i.e. lower the tone of blood vessel walls, thereby leading to lower blood pressure. In addition, they may be useful for the treatment of patients with peripheral vascular disease, manifested deterioration of blood flow in them, as well as for the treatment of certain congenital diseases of the cardiovascular system. Prostaglandins Group E also protects the gastric mucosa from ulceration, and the toxic effect of aspirin and indomethacin (anti-inflammatory drugs). Prostaglandins F group vasoconstrictor activity: they cause contraction of smooth muscles of blood vessels and, hence, increasing blood pressure. Besides, they stimulate smooth muscle of the uterus, and therefore can be used for abortion.

In 1982, together with B. Samuelson and John Wayne was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related biologically active substances it." Having learned that the Nobel Prize with him and share his pupil Wayne Samuelson, B. said that "there is no greater satisfaction than to see the success of their students."

In his Nobel lecture, entitled "Prostaglandins: from the laboratory to the clinic