Adolf Windaus

Picture of Adolf Windaus

Date of Birth: 12/25/1876

Age: 82

Place of birth: Berlin

Citizenship: Germany


In 1895, Vladimir began to study medicine at the University of Berlin. At the same time, he attended lectures of the chemist Emil Fischer, whose interest in the application of chemistry to physiology impressed B. After passing in 1897, the entrance examination for medicine, B. continued his studies at the University of Freiburg. He studied chemistry at the famous German chemist Heinrich Kilian and decided to part with the previous plans for a medical career, he wrote a thesis on cardiac poisons of digitalis, for which he was in 1899, a doctorate in chemistry was awarded.

After serving a year in military service in Berlin, Vladimir returned to Freiburg, where in 1903 he became a lecturer, and three years later - assistant professor. In 1913 he was appointed professor of applied chemistry at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria, and in 1915 V. returned to Germany and took dozhnost professor of chemistry and director of the Laboratory of General Chemistry (now the Institute of Chemistry) University of Gottingen, where he worked for 29 years.

The main focus of research has been conducted by B. establishing a connection between biologically important chemicals. Kylian invited him to study the structure of cholesterol. At that time, little was known about the structure and functions of this widespread substance, V. and believed that it should be closely linked with other biological compounds known under the name "sterols". Sterols (complex organic compounds that do not contain nitrogen and consisting of four flat rings with different side chains), are found in various forms of animal cells, plants and fungi. The most famous of them, cholesterol, was first discovered in human gallstones. Cholesterol is often associated with heart disease and arteriosclerosis, it is found in large quantities in the cells of the brain and the adrenal cortex. cholesterol level in blood increases during pregnancy and falls in infectious diseases.

At the beginning of the XX century. Heinrich Wieland, studying bile acids, identified a compound called holanovoy acid. In 1919, B. was the same acid from cholesterol, thus proving the affinity of cholesterol and bile acids. It remained, however, is still unclear whether the chemical affinity of this set of biological communication.

In this period of his scientific activity C. interested in the study of vitamins - organic substances required by the human body and animals for normal growth and maintenance of life. In 1897, the Dutch physician Christiaan Eijkman described the disease beriberi, arising due to lack of food then unknown substances, among which, as it turned out later, treated thiamine (vitamin B1). In 1906, Frederick Gowland Hopkins found that a significant role in maintaining the viability of the organism play "additional nutritional factors." Together with the Polish chemist Kazimierz Funk, who named these substances vitamins Hopkins in 1912, he formulated the concept, according to which the absence of specific vitamins in the diet causes a certain disease.

In the early 20-ies. study of vitamins went very fast pace, despite the fact that the methods of chemical analysis were extremely complex. However, the structure of vitamins remained unexplored, and their characteristics are often reduced to the physiological effects exerted by them. It has long been known that rickets - a disease in which the bones are softened in children - occurs, usually in areas where there is little sun, and to treat certain types of fat from the liver of fish that contain a substance called vitamin D. is recovering well rickets those patients who were treated with ultraviolet rays, and in 1924 the American physiologist Alfred Hess proved that the cure of rickets and some foods, irradiation with ultraviolet rays. This discovery has led to the theory of the existence of provitamin - substances which, under the influence of, say, a UV oblucheniyaprevraschaetsya vitamin. Analysis of irradiated foods thus shown that the sterols are provitamins.

B. Hess invited as a leading expert on sterols in New York, so that together with him to work on the definition of the chemical structure of vitamin D and provitamin. B. from the beginning believed that the provitamin of vitamin D is cholesterol, because under the influence of ultraviolet radiation he discovered the properties of vitamin D. In the sample, however, contained a small impurity, which in 1927 and B. Hess called ergosterol. The pure vitamin is - vitamin D2, calciferol or - was obtained when exposed to ultraviolet irradiation of ergosterol. In 1932, Vladimir and his colleagues have shown that the provitamin is another connection - 7-dehydrocholesterol. This material, called vitamin D3 had the highest importance, since the sterol formed naturally in animals and humans. The term "vitamin D1