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Histology Eponyms
with additional historical notes

Alphabetical index

Chronological index

Main entries

Dedication:  Our knowledge of tissue structure and function has emerged gradually over more than three centuries.  This page is dedicated to all the researchers, technicians, artists, and teachers who have contributed to and shared this knowledge.

About eponymy

Eponyms commonly commemorate researchers associated with the discovery or description of the named structures.  Our chronology of eponyms in histology begins in the 1600s.  This might seem obvious, since microscopic structures could certainly not be discovered prior to the invention of practical microscopes early in that century. 

However, and perhaps more surprisingly, remarkably few gross anatomical eponyms predate 1600, when the practice of giving credit for discovery became fashionable.  Among the few anatomical eponyms from the 1500s are Falloppio, b. 1562, and Eustachi, b. 1574.  Even the great 16th century anatomist Vesalius (b. 1515) barely appears among eponyms:  e.g., the os vesalianum

Much more recently (within this writer's lifetime), eponymous terms have been falling out of fashion, succumbing to a preference for labels which are functionally or anatomically descriptive.  (See "De-eponymising anatomical terminology" for an account of various disadvantages associated with eponymy.)  Thus "Malpighian corpuscles," commemorating pioneering microscopist Marcello Malpighi, are now routinely called "renal corpuscles."  Similarly, "crypts of Lieberkuhn" and "islets of Langerhans" are now commonly called "intestinal crypts" and "pancreatic islets."  This fashion for replacing eponymous labels has some pedagogic advantages for learning the location and function of the eponymous structures (which I applaud), but unhappily this fashion carries with it diminishing awareness of pioneering work in microscopic anatomy. 

  • Wikipedia offers a more inclusive listing of anatomical eponyms.
  • Whonamedit.com ("a dictionary of medical eponyms") offers a more inclusive list of eponyms related to medicine (i.e., not restricted to anatomy).
  • The Wellcome Collection and the InternetArchive are rich archival sources for old texts and images.


Alphabetical index, by traditional surname    (Chronological index)

Boldface highlights entries which are especially noteworthy in the history of histology. 
Italics indicates entries who are not eponyms but are included for their historical relevance to histology.

1828  Auerbach
1616  Bartholin
1643  Bellini
 ???   Bergmann
1712  Bertin
1834  Betz
1771  Bichat
1831  Boettcher
1816  Bowman
1868  Brodmann
1653  Brunner
1852  Cajal
1822  Claudius
1822  Corti
1666  Cowper
1641  de Graaf
1834  Deiters
1732  Descemet
1852  Disse
1856  Freud
1843  Golgi
1890  Goormaghtigh
1641  Graaf
1578  Harvey
1817  Hassall
1657  Havers
1866  Held
1809  Henle
1835  Hensen
1635  Hooke
1781  Howship
1904  Ito
1638  Kerckring
1866  Köhler
1817  Kölliker
1833  Krause
1829  Kupffer
1819  Langer
1847  Langerhans
1632  Leeuwenhoek
1821  Leydig
1711  Lieberkühn
1628  Malpighi
1787  Mayer
1829  Meissner
1845  Merkel
1860  Nissl
1847  Nuel
1812  Pacini
1857  Paneth
1653  Peyer
1787  Purkinje
1852  Ramón y Cajal
1835  Ranvier
1824  Reissner
1821  Robin
1790  Rosenthal
1824  Rouget
1864  Ruffini
1795  Schlemm
1810  Schwann
1842  Sertoli
1837  Skene
1821  Virchow
1842  von Ebner
1816  Waller
1869  Wright
 
 
 

Main entries 

These entries are arranged alphabetically.  Each entry briefly identifies the eponymous person and structure(s).  Longer entries attempt to place the eponym within the context of historical understanding of cells and tissues.  For most, biographical details are readily available elsewhere and so are not repeated here, although most entries do include links to outside pages with additional information. 

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Leopold Auerbach (1828-1897)

German/Polish anatomist, zoologist, and pathologist, commemorated in Auerbach's plexus (myenteric plexus) within the muscularis externa of the gastrointestinal tract.

Auerbach is most remembered for his eponymous plexus, described in Ueber einen Plexus myentericus, einen bisher unbekannten ganglio-nervösen Apparat im Darmkanal der Wirbelthiere [About a myenteric plexus, a previously unknown ganglionic apparatus in the vertebrate intestine], Verlag von E. Morgenstern, Breslau, 1862.  (Click on the image at right to read Auerbach's original German text.)

Auerbach's extensive nervous system work, as well as some biographical detail, is reviewed in the following article:

Andrzej Wincewiczi and Piotr Woltanowski, Heritage of Leopold Auerbach in the field of morphology of nervous system, Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, Vol. 62, pp. 325-330 (2021).

Among many other accomplishments, Auerbach determined that amoebae were single, independently-living individual cells:  Ueber die Einzelligkeit der Amoeben [About the unicellularity of amoebae], Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie. Vol. 7, p. 365 (1856).  And he "deserves the credit for having provided the first scientific foundation for modern [ca. 1898] teaching on fertilization," for his work on gametogenesis in a variety of animals, as described in:

Wincewiczi and Woltanowski, Leopold Auerbach's heritage in the field of morphology and embryology with special emphasis on gametogenesis of invertebrates, Romanian Journal of Morphology & Embryology, Vol. 61, pp. 587-593 (2020).

A nice summary of Auerbach's diverse research may be found here, in a 1902 entry in Algemeine Deutsche Biographie.  This short article is in German, but it can be readily translated by cut-and-pasting into DeepL Translator or Google Translate.

Another brief summary of Auerbach's research can be found in The Jewish Encyclopedia.

The Wikipedia entry for Auerbach is exceptionally brief.

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Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680)

Danish physician, member of an accomplished family of Copenhagen physicians which also included his father, Caspar Bartholin the Elder; his brother, Erasmus Bartholin; and his son, Caspar Bartholin the Younger.  The Bartholin family name is commemorated in Bartholin's glands (mucous glands of the vulvar vestibule); sources differ regarding which Bartholin is the appropriate eponym for these glands.

Thomas Bartholin is credited with describing the lymphatic duct in humans (after it had been previously found in animals) and recognizing the significance of the lymphatic drainage system.  One of Bartholin's students was Nicolas Steno, now recognized as one of the founders of modern geology.

Thomas Bartholin is associated with a curious medical phenomenon, especially prominent during the 17th and 18th centuries, of animals being reported within human bodies.  He was recruited to investigate the famous case of "the toad-vomiting woman of Germany," a person who on several occasions was observed to regurgitate an amphibian.  She claimed that for several years she had been able to feel the animals living and moving inside her stomach.  Bartholin was sent one such toad for examination. 

Although Bartholin's dissection revealed that the toad had fed on flies -- an unlikely circumstance if the toad had indeed originated in the woman's digestive tract -- he nevertheless published a report in (Acta medica et philosophica Hafnensia, Copenhagen 1673) on the possibility of toads living inside a person's stomach.  This and other examples of the phenomenon are recounted in "Animals Inside: Anatomy, Interiority and Virtue in the Early Modern Dutch Republic" [Tiere im Körper. Anatomie, Interiorität und Tugend in der frühmodernen Republik der Niederlande, by Rina Knoeff (Medizinhistorisches Journal, 2008, Bd. 43, H. 1, 2008, pp. 1-19), available at JSTOR.

Also see:

"The contributions of the Bartholin family to the study and practice of clinical anatomy," by Robert V. Hill, Clinical Anatomy, Vol. 20, pp. 113-115 (DOI: 10.1002/ca.20355).

Thomas Bartholin, biography at Wikipedia.

Thomas Bartholin, biography at Whonamedit.com.

Caspar Bartholin the Younger, biographical notes at Whonamedit.com.

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Bellini's drawing of his microscope view of fluid droplets expressed from a renal papilla that has been squeezed.
Lorenzo Bellini (1643-1704)

Italian anatomist (a contemporary of Marcello Malpighi), commemorated in the ducts of Bellini, another name for the collecting ducts which discharge urine from renal papillae into the renal pelvis.

While still a student, Bellini conducted dissections and microscopic examinations of kidneys.  This work was described (in Latin, of course) in Exercitatio Anatomica de Structura Usu Renum, published in 1662. 

Also in 1662 Bellini "was chosen professor of theoretical medicine at Pisa, but soon after was transferred to the chair of anatomy.  After spending thirty years at Pisa, he was invited to Florence and appointed physician to the grand duke Cosimo III, and was also made senior consulting physician to Pope Clement XI" [quotation from the 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica;  this classic 1911 edition is accessible through several online sources, including here, at Wikisource].

Exercitatio Anatomica de Structura Usu Renum is available [here] at Google Books.

Brief bio from Wikipedia.

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? Bergmann ( ??? )   update pending

Bergmann is commemorated in Bergmann glia (radial glia of cerebellum), which are involved in cellular development of brain tissue.

A quick review of literature reveals that the Bergmann eponym has been in use for over a century.  Much recent work simply takes this eponym for granted without any citation.  Some internet references list the basis for this eponym as "Gottlieb Heinrich Bergmann."  Examples include Whonamedit.com and this entry from Gray's Anatomy E-book (2021): 

Bergmann cells, glia:  the glial cells of the cerebellum.
Gottlieb Heinrich Bergmann (1781-1861), neurologist and anatomist,
Medical Director, Hildersheim [sic] Asylum, Germany.

This appears to be an error, conflating G.H. Bergmann the psychiatrist (who also published some neuroanatomy) with the Bergmann of "Bergmann glia," who, according to Ramón y Cajal (below), first described the eponymous cells.  Even apart from consideration that the founding director of the mental hospital in Hildesheim was named Gottlob Bergmann rather than Gottlieb (confirmed here and here), these references appear to be conflating Bergmann the psychiatrist (1781-1861) with Bergmann the neurohistologist (below).  Memory of this latter Bergmann seems to be largely lost, at least from the English-language internet. 

Cajal, in his great monograph on neurohistology, illustrates Bergmann's cells and recognizes their description by prior researchers, including Bergmann, while acknowledging that their understanding was limited by older histological techniques:

"Bergmann, Denissenko, Obersteiner, Schwalbe, Henle, and the authors who, like them, had used the old histological methods ... were familiar with the [radial extensions] of the epithelial cells just described, but were unaware of their origin and nature, owing to the very imperfection of their techniques.  For a long time these [radial processes] were called Bergmann's fibers after the anatomist who first mentioned them.  Thanks to his excellent impregnation procedure, Golgi was the first to recognize the essence of Bergmann's fibers; he knew that they are constituted, at least in part, by the external extensions of epithelial corpuscles located in the alignment of Purkinje cells."  [The image and quotation here are from Cajal, Histologie du Systeme Nerveux..., vol. 2, 1911, p. 70.  Translation is mostly by DeepL Translate.]

Unfortunately Cajal does not provide a detailed citation to Bergman's earlier description.  One possibility is this paper, cited in "The history of radial glia," by Marina Bentivoglio & Paolo Mazzarello (Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 49, pp. 305-315, 1999,   https://doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(99)00065-9):

Bergmann, E.  "Notiz über einige Structurverhaltnisse des Cerebellum und Rückenmarks." Zeitschrift für rationelle Medizin, Neue Folge, Vol. 8, pp. 360-364; 1857.

Elsewhere this paper is cited with a different initial for its author; I have not yet seen this paper nor found any further information about this Bergmann (but I have placed an international inter-library loan request for a copy).

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Exupère-Joseph Bertin (1712-1781)

French anatomist, commemorated in the columns of Bertin of the kidney and Bertin's ossicles (conchae of the sphenoid bone).

Extremely brief biography at Wikipedia.

In 1744, long before the complete structure of the nephron had been understood, Bertin recognized that medullary pyramids consist of tubular loops (published in Mémoire pour servir a l´Histoire des Reins, in: Histoire de L´Académie Royale des Sciences, Paris).  His investigation of kidney, including his summary of prior work by Malpighi and others, is described in Exupère-Joseph Bertin (1712-1781) and his description of the "petits siphons recourbez" (Henle's loops, a century earlier).  As well as including several extensive quotes from Bertin (in English translation), this article notes that, "The injection of colorful liquid wax in the vessels is the method Bertin loved the most."

Medullary loops were eventually named "loops of Henle," after Friedrich Gustav Jacob Henle.  Additional historical context for our understanding of loops of Henle, from Bellini in the 1600s through Malpighi and Bowman to the present, may be found in "The loop of Henle as the milestone of mammalian kidney concentrating ability: a historical review," [Koulouridis & Koulouridis, Acta Med Hist Adriat 12:413-28 (2014)], available at ResearchGate.

Bertin is also noted for his 1754 Traité d'ostéologie / Suivi de trois mémoires de M. Hérissant sur différens points d'ostéologie [Treatise on osteology / Follow-up of three memoirs by M. Hérissant on different points of osteology].  Volume I may be read (in French) at GoogleBooks.

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Vladimir Alekseyevich Betz (1834-1894)

Ukrainian neuroanatomist, commemorated in Betz cells, giant pyramidal cells of the motor cortex. 

The caption for the image at right reads, "Deep giant pyramidal cell or Betz cell of the motor region; thirty year old man.  Golgi's method."  Translated from Santiago Ramón y Cajal's Histologie du Systeme Nerveux de l'Homme et des Vertebres, Maloine, Paris; vol. II, p. 567, 1911 [emphasis added]. 

Betz received his medical degree in 1860 from St. Vladimir University in Kiev, where he became a prosector's aid preparing anatomical specimens.  He was sent to Germany and Austria in 1861-2 to further his anatomical training.  He began his research career analyzing pressure relationships in hepatic circulation.  However, the brain soon became the principal focus of his research.  Betz worked during the time when histology was becoming established as an anatomical discipline; he developed techniques for fixing large specimens, included whole human brains, and for slicing thin serial sections from such specimens, which he stained with carmine.  He amassed thousands of brain specimens, many of which were exhibited at the Vienna World Exposition in 1873 where he was awarded the "Medal of Progress" (Fortschritts Medaille).  A letter recommending Betz for this award reads in part:

"I have to say that no anatomist has advanced the knowledge of brain structure as much as Professor Betz.  I therefore consider it my duty to recommend the unequaled accomplishment of my Russian colleague for special consideration by the jury and to apply for the awarding of the medal of progress for Professor Betz with the epigraph: for his exquisitely beautiful and most instructive human and comparative anatomic brain specimens" [1].

Betz reported the eponymous giant pyramidal cells in "Anatomischer Nachweis zweier Gehirncentra" ["Anatomical evidence of two brain centers"], Centralblatt für die medizinischen Wissenschaften, 1874, vol. 12, pp. 578-80, 595-99, from which the image at right was taken.  (Note the odd page-numbering in this citation; "due to a printer's error, another unrelated article was printed in the midst of Betz's article" [1].)  Betz found that such giant cell bodies characterize only the precentral gyrus, and that they can be observed in this location in several different species.  He further described the processes of these cells, tracing their fibers down the pyramidal tract into the spinal cord.  This report provided substantial early evidence for the histological as well as functional differentiation of specific areas of cerebral cortex, more than thirty years before Brodmann published his cytoarchitectonic maps of cortex. 

[1]  A detailed biography of Betz, with not only much fascinating detail about Betz's life and research but also including an overview of the development of neuroscience, can be found here:

"The discovery of the pyramidal neurons: Vladimir Betz and a new era of neuroscience," S.V. Kushchayev et al., Brain, Vol. 135, pp. 285-300 (2011), https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awr276.

Very brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Marie-François Xavier Bichat (1771-1802)

French physician, commemorated in "Bichat's tunic" (vascular tunica intima) as well as several additional anatomical eponyms.

Bichet is commonly designated as the "father of histology." 
Prior to Bichat, histology per se did not yet exist as a distinct branch of anatomical science.  Bichat's own principle works were titled Anatomie générale (1801) and Traité des membranes (1802); see below.

The word "histology" itself, as a label for this discipline, did not come into use until some years after Bichat's death, in the title of a book (Ueber Histologie...) published in 1819 [ 1 ], in which Karl Mayer reviewed Bichat's work: 

"In order to speak of the classification of tissues, I must go back to the first originator of such a classification, to Bichat.  He divides the tissues into 21 classes, which he lists as special systems" ["Um von der Eintheilung der Gewebe zu sprechen, muss ich auf den ersten Urheber einer solchen Eintheilung, auf Bichat zuruckgehen.  Derselbe theilt die Gewebe in 21 Klassen ein, welche er als besondere Systeme aufführt]" [ 1 ].

Kölliker, the subsequent "father of modern histology," used the word "Gewebelehre" (literally, "tissue-teaching") rather than "Histologie" in the title of his renowned 1852 textbook, Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen.

As for the term "tissue," Bichat himself used the French word tissu.  But the English cognate word "tissue" also took some years to become uniformly established in its modern histological sense.  For example, Hayward, in his 1822 American translation of Bichat's Anatomie Générale [ 2 ], writes, "I have ... translated the French word tissu by the English word texture.  I know many writers have adopted the French term, but I think it unnecessary, to say the least, to employ a foreign word, when one of our own language can be used with quite as much precision."

Bichat's analysis of tissues drew on centuries of accumulated description and classification [ 3 ], dating back to Aristotle and Galen and including William Harvey.  Bichat himself recognized 21 "simple tissues":

 Bichat's tissus simples
 
1°  le cellulaire     8°  l'osseus   15°  le mucueux
2°  le nerveux de la vie animale     9°  le médullaire   16°  le séreux
3°  le nerveux de la vie organique   10°  le cartilagineaux   17°  le synovial
4°  le arteriel   11°  le fibreux   18°  le glanduleux
5°  le veineux   12°  le fibro-cartilagineux   19°  le dermoïde
6°  celui des exhalans   13°  le musculaire de la vie animale   20°  l'épidermoïde
7°  celui des absorbans et de leurs glandes   14°  le musculaire de la vie organique   21°  le pileux

Over subsequent decades, Bichat's nomenclature morphed into our familiar set of four basic tissue types [c.f., Virchow], each with several subdivisions. 

Although there is a clear relationship between Bichat's 21 tissues and our modern understanding of anatomy, there is not always a simple correspondence. 

Bichat's primary (1°) category is found throughout the body in intimate association with most organs.  It corresponds with the modern concept of areolar tissue and is the common pathway for inflammation.  But Bichat's name for this tissue, "le tissu cellulaire," does not imply "cellular" in our modern sense * ].  Bichat worked decades before the establishment of Cell Theory.  Le cellulaire refers to the small spaces (areolae, filled with connective tissue ground substance) that characterize loose irregular connective tissue. 

Other connective tissues in Bichat's system are l'osseus (bone), le médullaire (marrow), le cartilagineaux and le fibro-cartilagineux (hyaline and fibrocartilage), le fibreux (dense fibrous connective tissues such as tendon and organ sheath), and le dermoïde (dermis). 

Le mucueux refers to internal mucous membranes, such as those lining digestive, respiratory, and reproductive tracts; it apparently includes both epithelium and lamina propria.  Le séreux matches serous membranes in the modern sense.  Le synovial similarly matches synovial membranes in the modern sense.  L'épidermoïde includes both epidermis and also internal non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelia, as well as urothelium.  Le pileux is hair. 

For Bichat's two categories each of le nerveux and le musculaire, his distinction between de la vie animale and de la vie organique is that between the voluntary and involuntary nervous and muscular systems. 

Le arteriel and le veineux refer to arteries and veins, which are now considered as organs rather than basic tissues.  Celui des exhalans appears to refer to capillaries and other membranes which produce ("exhale") lymph.  Lymphatic vessels, which takes up ("absorb") lymph, belong to Bichat's celui des absorbans et de leurs glandes, a "simple tissue" which also includes lymph nodes

Le glanduleux is the epithelial parenchyma of exocrine glands.

Bichat did not trust microscopes, and hence did not practice "histology" in our modern "microscopic anatomy" sense.  Although microscopes had been used to good effect for over a century (cf., Hooke and Malpighi), techniques for histological preparation were still rudimentary.  Nevertheless, by subjecting tissues "successively to desiccation, putrefaction, maceration, ebullition, stewing, and to the action of the acids and the alkalis" tissues could be separated "where the scalpel was insufficient" [ 2 ].  Bichat might soak tissues for several months, or even swallow them to be digested and subsequently regurgitated [ 2 ].  Thus was Bichat able to recognize that organs were composed of more-fundamental simple materials, and furthermore to appreciate that pathology was commonly localized to or limited by specific types of tissue.

(As a curious side note, at the same time that histology was coalescing into a distinct discipline through the work of Bichat, the understanding of matter itself was also being transformed by the work of Antoine Lavoisier, "the father of modern chemistry."  Bichat's defining list of simple tissues followed by only a few years Lavoisier's defining list of elements and associated chemical nomenclature.)

By calling attention to the tissue level of bodily organization, Bichat began a shift in the focus of anatomy, physiology, and pathology.  The impact of Bichat's studies on future studies of medicine was nicely captured by George Eliot in her novel Middlemarch.  Eliot models one of her characters, Lydgate, as an eager student of Bichat's works.  Excerpts below are from Eliot [ 4 ], Chapter 15:

"That great Frenchman [i.e., Bichat] first carried out the conception that living bodies, fundamentally considered, ... must be regarded as consisting of certain primary webs or tissues, out of which the various organs -- brain, heart, lungs, and so on -- are compacted, as the various accommodations of a house are built up in various proportions of wood, iron, stone, brick, zinc, and the rest, each material having its peculiar composition and proportions."
 
"And the conception wrought out by Bichat, with his detailed study of the different tissues, acted necessarily on medical questions as the turning of gas-light would act on a dim, oil-lit street, showing new connections and hitherto hidden facts of structure which must be taken into account in considering the symptoms of maladies and the action of medicaments."

Middlemarch was published in 1872.  By setting her story in 1829, Eliot was able to forshadow cell theory

"This great seer [Bichat] did not go beyond the consideration of the tissues as ultimate facts in the living organism, marking the limit of anatomical analysis; but it was open to another mind to say, have not these structures some common basis from which they have all started, as your sarsnet, gauze, net, satin, and velvet from the raw cocoon?  Here would be another light, as of oxy-hydrogen, showing the very grain of things [i.e., cells; see Schwann], and revising all former explanations."

We conclude with two brief quotes.  The first of these is a lightly edited excerpt from a note about a postage stamp.  The second is from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, available here, at Wikisource.

"The French Revolution, with its many executions..., had provided [Bichat] with a plentiful supply of bodies for dissection.  Without the aid of a microscope he identified [21 different] tissues and their normal and pathological structure... The tissues were considered to be elementary structures which, when weakened, permitted disease to occur" [ 5 ]. 

"A fall from a staircase ... resulted in a fever, and, exhausted by his excessive labours and by constantly breathing the tainted air of the dissecting room, he died on the 22nd of July, 1802" [ 6 ], at the untimely age of 30. 

References cited above

* I have often used GoogleTranslate for translating works from French or German.  However, when given Bichat's list of 21 tissue categories, this resource translated Bichat's first category, "le cellulaire" as "the cellphone"!  (In fairness, GoogleTranslate did offer context-appropriate translations for the remaining 20 tissue categories.)
  1. Full text of Mayer's Ueber Histologie und eine neue Eintheilung der Gewebe des menschlichen Körpers is available from GoogleBooks
     
  2. Bichat, General Anatomy, 1822 American translation by George Hayward, at Project Gutenberg
     
  3. Historical precedents for Bichat and his view of tissues are reviewed and analyzed in a fascinating essay by Forrester:  "The homoeomerous parts and their replacement by Bichat's tissues," in Medical History, 1994, 38: 444-458.
     
  4. Eliot, George. Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life (1871-2) (accessed at The Literature Page).
     
  5. Marie François Xavier Bichat (1771-1802). Haas, J Neuro Neurosurg Psychiatry (1994) vol. 57, p. 263
     
  6. The classic 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) is accessible through several online sources, including here, at Wikisource.
     

Publications by Bichat are available online from multiple sources:

Additional sources:

Additional references:

     Biographical details at Wikipedia

     A much more extensive biography by M.M. Shoja, et al., at PubMed.gov or Annals of Anatomy, Vol. 190, pp. 413-420

 

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Arthur Boettcher (1831-1889)

Baltic German anatomist, commemorated in "Boettcher's cells," among the many eponymous details associated with the organ of Corti in the inner ear.

Boettcher (or Böttcher) was native to a town in the Russian empire which is now located in Latvia.  He spent much of his professional career as professor of general pathology and pathological anatomy in Dorpat, in modern-day Estonia.

(For more on Boettcher's cells, as well as on other eponyms associated with the inner ear, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms," Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311.)

Curiously, reports by Boettcher in 1876 and 1877 appear to have introduced a misconception which has endured for a century and a half, that camel red blood cells have nuclei (unlike those of all other mammals).  Even though reported as erroneous as long ago as 1928, this misconception persists and can still be easily found on the internet; it has even appeared at least as recently as 2005 in the prominent textbook Mammalogy.  Boettcher's account of his studies of camel red blood cells can be found in Mémoires de l'Académie Impériale de St.-Pétersbourg, VII Série. Tome XXII, No. 11 (1876), "Neue Untersuchungen über die rothen Blutkörperchen" and in Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, xiv 73-93 (1877), "Ueber die feineren Structurverhältnisse der rothen Blutkörperchen." 

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Click on image to view and enlarge full plate.

William Bowman (1816-1892)

English ophthalmological surgeon, anatomist, and histologist; commemorated in Bowman's capsule and Bowman's space of renal glomeruli, also Bowman's glands of olfactory mucosa and Bowman's membrane of the cornea.

Bowman trained as a surgeon at Birmingham General Hospital and at Kings College London, where he served as a prosector (preparing anatomical demonstrations).  He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1841 for his work describing microscopical observations of muscle in a wide variety of species [1]

"In offering to your notice the following account of some researches into the minute structure and movements of voluntary muscle, ... I am encouraged to hope that some parts of the inquiry may not be altogether uninteresting to the Royal Society, to which the first discoveries in this important branch of physiology by Robert Hooke and the illustrious Leeuwenhoek were communicated...
[Muscle fibers'] form and composition have been objects of continual dispute, and in the present day we seem to be as little advanced towards the determination of their real nature as ever.  The improvements which have taken place in the construction of microscopes, appear indeed to have only afforded grounds for new differences of opinion, as may be seen by the records of the last few years..." [1]

In 1842 Bowman presented to the Royal Society detailed microscopic observations of the kidney in a variety of vertebrate animals:  "On the structure and use of the Malpighian bodies of the kidney" [2].  Bowman's "Malpighian bodies" (i.e. "Malpighian corpuscles," first described by Marcello Malpighi two centuries earlier) are now more commonly called renal corpuscles, containing renal glomeruli).  Malpighi had guessed, but could not prove, that these bodies were connected with the tubules.  Bowman was able to demonstrate that the eponymous epithelial capsule around each renal glomerulus is the beginning of (i.e., continuous with) tubule epithelium, while the eponymous space is continuous with the lumen of the associated tubule.

In Bowman's caption for the drawing above right, the structure now known as Bowman's capsule is indicated by "c capsule of M. body" (i.e., Malpighian body, or renal corpuscle).  Click here or on the image to open the larger, complete image at Wikipedia Commons.  Then click again for further enlargement!

Bowman's contributions to understanding renal organization were so substantial, and his esteem among his colleagues so high, that he was dubbed "the Father of the Kidney" [3].  However, Bowman misconstrued the related functions of glomerulus and tubule:

"Impressed by the resemblance of the tubules to the acini of digestive glands, he conceived that the cells which compose their walls secrete the waste products of metabolism from blood into their lumina; the glomerular capillaries seemed to him peculiarly suited to permit the escape of water from the blood.  From these two impressions he constructed the [plausible but mistaken] hypothesis that the urinous constituents of blood are secreted by the tubule cells and washed out of the lumen by a saline stream flowing down from the glomerulus"  [4].

In the same year (1842), an alternative [and more nearly correct] hypothesis was proposed by Bowman's contemporary Carl Ludwig (German pioneer in physiology, 1816-1895), that renal glomeruli produce a cell-free, protein-free filtrate of blood which is subsequently concentrated by renal tubules.  Bowman's drawings of renal tubules were also incomplete.  They show proximal convoluted tubules leaving Bowman's capsule, but the loop of Henle is missing.  Description of that long tubular excursion into the renal medulla awaited the work of Jakob Henle a few years later. 

Bowman eventually specialized in and practiced ophthalmology, producing detailed, clinically oriented anatomical and histological studies of the eye.  His illustrations of of the corneal limbus and the retina, published in "Lectures on the parts concerned in the operations on the eye, and on the structure of the retina" [5], are more modern in appearance than his drawings of kidney. 

(Click here or on either image to enlarge the presentation.)

But Bowman's caption for his illustration of retina reveals his limited histological understanding of nervous tissue (long before Ramón y Cajal had elaborated the Neuron Doctrine).  He labels the outer and inner nuclear layers, respectively, as layers of "globular agglomerated granules" and "nummular agglomerated granules," while the outer plexiform layer is described simply as "obscurely fibrous."

During his career, Bowman corresponded with several eminent persons, including Florence Nightingale and Charles Darwin [6].  Darwin mentions his indebtedness to Bowman regarding the causes of weeping, in his The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

An excellent account of Bowman's contributions to renal physiology [3] can be downloaded here, from ScienceDirect.  This essay describes Bowman's physiological experiments in some detail, as well as highlighting his stature among his peers.

Historical context for our understanding of kidney function, from Bellini in the 1600s through Malpighi and Bowman to the present, may be found in "The loop of Henle as the milestone of mammalian kidney concentrating ability: a historical review," [Koulouridis & Koulouridis, Acta Med Hist Adriat 12:413-28 (2014)].  This essay is available at PubMed or at ResearchGate.

Wikipedia offers a brief biographical sketch, with additional detail on Bowman's early life, education, and career. 

  1. "On the minute structure and movements of voluntary muscle," by William Bowman, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 130, pp. 457-501 (1840).  [Available here, from the Royal Society]
     
  2. "On the structure and use of the Malpighian bodies of the kidney: with observations on the circulation through that gland," by William Bowman, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 32, pp. 57-80 (1842) [Available here, from the Royal Society]
     
  3. "Sir William Bowman: His contributions to physiology and nephrology," by Garabe Eknoyan, Kidney International, vol. 50, pp. 2120-2128 (1996). [Available here, from ScienceDirect]
     
  4. "The physiology of the kidney," by A. N. Richards, Bull N Y Acad. Med. 1938; 14: 5-20.  [Available here, from the National Library of Medicine]
     
  5. "Lectures on the parts concerned in the operations on the eye, and on the structure of the retina, delivered at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, June 1847, to which are added, a paper on the vitreous humor; and also a few cases of ophthalmic disease," by William Bowman, F.R.S., Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England; Professor of Physiology and General and Morbid Anatomy in King's Coll. London; Assistant-Surgeon to the King's College Hospital, and to the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields.  Printed for Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1849.  [available at Google Books]
     
  6. "The Manuscripts of Sir William Bowman," by K. Bryn Thomas, Medical History, Vol. 10, pp. 245-256 (1966). [Available here].
     

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Classic image from Vergleichende Lokalisationslehre der Grosshirnrinde, accessed at the Wellcome Collection.

Korbinian Brodmann (1868-1918)

German anatomist and neurologist, commemorated in Brodmann's areas of the cerebral cortex.

During Brodmann's relatively short professional career (he lived only 50 years) he was associated with several German universities and other institutions.  At the Municipal Mental Asylum in Frankfurt, he was influenced by A. Alzheimer (commemorated in Altzheimer's disease) to pursue basic research in neuroanatomy.

Brodmann's most noted work is his 1909 Vergleichende Lokalisationslehre der Grosshirnrinde in ihren Prinzipien dargestellt auf Grund des Zellenbaues [roughly, "Comparative localization of the cerebral cortex, presented on the basis of the cell structure], with its most famous illustration reproduced at right.

In this work Brodmann surveyed the entire cortex, cataloging regional variations in the "cytoarchitecture" (detailed histological appearance) of cortical layers.  Brodmann's descriptions formed the original basis for recognizing what are now known as Brodmann's areas.  Significantly, Brodmann's areas are now known to correspond with functional localization in the cortex (as presaged by the earlier work of Vladimir Betz).

Many resources for Brodmann, and for Brodmann's areas, are readily accessible on the internet.  One especially satisfactory, well-illustrated example, to which the interested reader is referred, is:

Karl Zilles, Brodmann: a pioneer of human brain mapping -- his impact on concepts of cortical organization, Brain, vol. 141, pp. 3262-3278 (2018), doi:10.1093/brain/awy273.

Additional resources:

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Johann Conrad von Brunner (1653-1727)

Swiss anatomist, commemorated in Brunner's glands of the duodenum.

Brunner was a student of Johann Jacob Wepfer (1620-1695), founder of the "Schaffhouse School" of anatomy and physiology, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.  He worked with Wepfer and with Johann Conrad Peyer (who discovered his eponymous lymphoid follicles in 1677).  In addition to describing glands of the duodenum and the pituitary gland, in 1683 Brunner reported symptoms of diabetes experimentally induced by surgical removal of the pancreas in dogs.  But Brunner failed to associate his observations with the disease diabetes mellitus; making that connection remained for physiologists von Mering and Minkowski two centuries later, in 1889. 

A 1715 edition of Brunner's monograph on intestinal glands, Glandulae Duodeni sue Pancreas..., is available in facsimile from Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (text in Latin).  Above right is an image of the cover page.  The image of duodenum at left is taken from Brunner's only illustration in this report.  (The stomach is at the top of this dissection; the common bile duct appears at the right.)

A fascinating essay on 17th century "Schaffhouse School" is available in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 27, pp. 512-520 (1953):  "The Anatomical and Physiological Approach in Swiss Medicine during the 17th Century," by Heinrich Buess.  (Brunner's experiments with pancreas are described on p. 520.)

Wikipedia has brief biographical information.

 

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Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934)

Spanish neuroanatomist, professor at the University of Valencia, also of Barcelona and of Madrid; 1906 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Cajal is the most famous pioneer in the descriptive anatomy of nerve cells.  His elegant and precisely detailed drawings of individual neurons are quite familiar from their appearance in many textbooks (e.g., the spectacular cerebellar Purkinje cell at right).  Cajal is commemorated in horizontal cells of Cajal in the cerebral cortex.

Note that Cajal's proper surname is "Ramón y Cajal."  He is, however, commonly referred to simply as "Cajal," a practice followed on this page as well.

Nervous tissue has presented (and continues to present) extraordinary challenges for science.  Historically, a basic appreciation of the cellular composition of nervous tissue did not come until decades after other tissues were fairly well understood.  One reason is that no nerve cell type can be properly visualized in its entirety in routine histological preparations. 

Discerning the full length of individual axons (in humans, commonly several centimeters; approaching two meters for some somatosensory axons) vastly exceeds the capacity of any technique of microscopy even today, even in laboratory rats.  The length of dendrites can exceed a millimeter.  Furthermore, the feltwork of fibers between neuron cell bodies, today called "neuropil," can be plainly resolved only by electron microscopy, while serial-sectioning techniques for extracting three-dimensional information with electron-microscope resolution have only recently become marginally practical.

During the decades of Cajal's career, controversy raged over the nature of nervous tissue.  Some believed that "ganglionic corpuscles" (now known as nerve cell bodies) were interconnected with one another through an anastomosing reticulum of fibers.  Others, including Cajal, became convinced by evidence from many sources (see e.g., Cajal's Nobel Prize lecture) that each nerve cell body, together with its attached dendrites and axon, formed a discrete cellular unit -- a "neuron" -- that was distinct and separate from other nerve cells. 

Cerebral pyramical cell, preparation by Ramón y Cajal

Cajal was able to use the Golgi stain, a technique developed by his colleague and intellectual rival, Camillo Golgi, to observe the shapes of individual nerve cells and infer not only their individuality but also the direction of communication between them.  Golgi, on the other hand, persisted in his conviction that nerve cells were not distinct individuals but formed an anastomosing reticulum.  Both Cajal and Golgi shared the 1906 Nobel Prize for their work elucidating nervous tissue.  Their conflicting views are exhibited in their respective Nobel Prize acceptance speeches:  Cajal / Golgi.

Cajal introduced the four principles which comprise the neuron doctrine (quotations here are taken from Eric Kandel's 2006 autobiography In Search of Memory, pp. 65-66): 

  1. Cellularity: "The nerve cell is the fundamental structural and functional element of the brain."
  2. Synaptic communication: "The terminals of one neuron's axon communicate with the dendrites of another neuron only at specialized sites, later named "synapses" by Sherrington."
  3. Connection specificity: "Neurons do not form connections indiscriminately.  Rather each nerve cell forms synapses and communicates with certain nerve cells and not with others."
  4. Dynamic polarization: "Signals in a neural circuit travel in only one direction. . .  Information flows, from the dendrites of a given nerve cell to the cell body [then] along the axon to the presynaptic terminals and then across the synaptic cleft to the dendrites of the next cell, and so on."

Cajal was profoundly impressed by the beauty and diversity of nerve cells as revealed by Golgi impregnation, referring to them in his autobiography as "the mysterious butterflies of the soul" ["las misteriosas mariposas del alma"].  Regarding fame, he once wrote, "And what do praises matter to me?  When they applaud me I will not exist" [quote taken from Gomez-Marin's review of Benjamin Ehrlich's 2022 biography, cited below].

Sources for images by Cajal:

Additional resources:

  • New (2022) print biography: The Brain in Search of Itself: Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Story of the Neuron, by Benjamin Ehrlich; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
    This biography is reviewed in Science, 375: 1237 (March 18, 2022), "Drawing the mind, one neuron at a time," by Alex Gomez-Marin.
  • Biographical sketch of Cajal, from the Nobel Prize Organization.
  • Biography of Cajal, from Wikipedia.
  • Golgi's method, used by Cajal, from Wikipedia.
  • Cajal's 1917 autobiography, Recollections of My Life [Recuerdos de mi Vida].
    Volume 1 (text in Spanish), from Project Gutenberg.
    Volume 2 (text in Spanish), from Project Gutenberg. 
    Review of 1937 English translation, in Nature.

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Friedrich Matthias Claudius (1822-1869)

German zoologist and anatomist, commemorated by "cells of Claudius" associated with the organ of Corti in the inner ear.

Claudius held positions at the Zoological Museum of Kiel University and at the anatomical institute at the University of Marburg.

(For more on cells of Claudius, as well as on other eponymous inner-ear structures, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms," Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311.)
Very brief bio at Wikipedia.

Very brief bio at Cochlear Explorers.  (This bio ends with, "Not much else is known about the person who first described the Cells of Claudius.")

Publications by Claudius

  • 1856:  Bemerkungen über den Bau der häutigen Spiralleiste der Schnecke ["Remarks on the structure of the spiral strip of the cochlea"], Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie, vol. 7, pp. 154-161 (this manuscript reports the eponymous cells).

  • 1867:  Das Gehörorgan von Rhytina stelleri ["The hearing organ of Steller's sea cow"].

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Alfonso Giacomo Gaspare Corti (1822-1876)

Italian nobleman-physician who worked in Germany and published in French.  Corti is commemorated in the organ of Corti within the cochlea of the inner ear.

Corti published his "pivotal paper" describing the eponymous organ in 1851, while he was working in the laboratory of "the father of modern histology," Albert von Kölliker.  Corti "retired from scientific investigation the year after his reporting the description of the organ of Corti to assume his new role as Baron Corti following the death of his father" [1].  Corti's description "was soon followed by papers on the descriptive anatomy of the cochlear receptor by Professors Claudius (1856), Deiters (1860), Hensen (1863), Boettcher (1869), and Nuel (1872)" [1] (each of whom has his own eponymous part of the cochlea); in 1863 Kölliker himself described the eponymous "Kölliker's organ," the embryonic precursor of epithelial structures in the organ of Corti.

Corti's histological protocols were inadequate for preserving and displaying all the associated cells and structures of the cochlea; in particular Reissner's membrane is missing from these illustrations.  Consequently, his diagrammatic illustrations [2] are somewhat difficult to interpret; in the two images reproduced here, the spiral lamina is on the left and the basilar membrane is on the right.  But subsequent researchers were able to add more and more detail (which resulted in more and more eponyms).

[1] Quotes above are from p. 1743 in:  van de Water, Historical aspects of inner ear anatomy and biology, The Anatomical Record, vol. 295, pp. 1741-1759 (2012).  This paper is also a rich source for inner-ear anatomy and physiology.

[2] Images above are from:  Corti A. (1851), "Recherches sur l'organe de l'ouïe des mammiféres" [Research on the organ of hearing of mammals], Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie 3:109-169, available at the Wellcome Collection.

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

The following articles are available only to subscribers to the journals:

(For more on the organ of Corti, as well as on other eponymous inner ear structures, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms," Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311.)

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William Cowper (1666-1709)   incomplete

English anatomist, commemorated in Cowper's glands of the male reproductive tract.

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Otto Deiters (1834-1863)

German neuroanatomist, commemorated in Deiters' nucleus (the lateral vestibular nucleus) of the brainstem and Deiters' cells in the organ of Corti of the inner ear.

During his short life (he died of typhoid at age 29) Deiters produced a thick monograph on his research into the brain and spinal cord of humans and mammals (Untersuchungen über Gehirn und Rückenmarkdes Menschen und der Säugethiere, 1865), from which the illustrations here were taken. 

The image at left illustrates the anterior horn of the spinal cord (anterior is up); the one at right shows a spinal motor neuron, with the axon emphasized.

Working as he did before establishment of the Neuron Doctrine, Deiters' interpretations were limited by understanding of his time.  Nevertheless he produced wonderfully detailed images (as shown here) that display how far neurohistology had progressed prior to Ramón y Cajal.

(For further discussion of the state of neurohistological knowledge during the nineteenth century, see "The Discovery of the Neuron," by Mo Costandi, at the Neurophilosophy Blog.)

Within the inner ear, Deiters' cells are supporting cells in the organ of Corti.  Deiters' cells are situated between hair cells and the basilar membrane. 

For more on Deiters' cells, as well as on other eponymous inner ear structures, see:

Publications by Deiters

  • Untersuchungen über die Lamina spiralis membranacea: ein Beitrag zur Kenntniss des inneren Gehörorgans [Studies on the lamina spiralis membranacea: a contribution to knowledge of the inner ear] (1860):
        Available from the Wellcome Collection.
        Available from the Internet Archive.
     
  • Untersuchungen über Gehirn und Rückenmark des Menschen und der Säugethiere [Studies on the brain and spinal cord of man and mammals] (1865), edited after Deiters' death by Max Schultze:
        Available from the Internet Archive.
        Available from the Wellcome Collection

Brief biography at Wikipedia

 

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Jean Descemet (1732-1810)

French physician, commemorated in Descemet's membrane of the cornea, which he described in 1758 in his graduate thesis on the anatomy of the cornea and lens, submitted for his doctorate. 

At about the same time (1759), pursuing an interest in botany, he published Catalogue des plantes du jardin de MM. les apothicaires de Paris, suivant leurs genres et les caractères des fleurs, conformément à la méthode de M. Tournefort [Catalog of the plants in the Garden of the Apothecaries in Paris according to their genera and the characteristics of their flowers, using Mr. Tournefort's method].

Wikipedia offers only a very brief biographical entry, here.

A more extensive account is available in the "Descemet" entry in The Dawn of Modern Medicine: An Account of the Revival of the Science and Art of Medicine Which Took Place in Western Europe During the Latter Half of the Eighteenth Century and the First Part of the Nineteenth, by Albert Henry Buck (Yale Univ. Press, 1920), accessed at Project Gutenberg.

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Joseph Hugo Vincent Disse (1852-1912)

German experimental pathologist who demonstrated in the liver the existence of a space filled with lymph (= blood plasma) between blood-filled hepatic sinusoids and their underlying hepatocytes, the eponymous space of Disse

Because Disse worked long before electron microscopy became a practical tool for histology (beginning ca. 1939), he was not able to visually resolve the endothelium with its fenestrations.  Nevertheless his experiments convincingly established the presence of a functional barrier at the location of the sinusoidal endothelium. 

[More :  A fascinating description of Disse's demonstration of the functional distinction between liver sinusoids and his eponymous space is presented in a short biographical essay, "Who Was Disse," by Rudi Schmid, in the journal Hepatology, vol. 14, pp. 1283-1285, 1991.]

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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Freud's drawings of crayfish nerve cells,
accessed at Sigmund Freud Edition.

Austrian neuroanatomist at the beginning of his professional career; later, of course, Freud became a famed psychoanalyst.  Not commemorated in any histological eponyms.

I couldn't resist including Freud here, because he began his career with pioneering histological studies on the neuronal cytoskeleton in axons of crayfish.  I first discovered Freud's research on nerve cells while preparing my own doctoral dissertation (1975) on the organization of crustacean neuropil.

Great moments in crayfish research: Before he was famous, by Zen Faulkes

Sigmund Freud's contribution to the history of the neuronal cytoskeleton, by E. Frixione, J. Hist Neurosci. 2003, 12:12-24. doi: 10.1076/jhin.12.1.12.13790.

The Cytoskeleton of Nerve Cells in Historical Perspective, by E. Frixione, IBRO History of Neuroscience, 2006.

Freud, Sigmund (1882) Über den Bau der Nervenfasern und Nervenzellen beim Flusskrebs.
Sitzungsberichte der kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften (Wien) 85: 9-46. 

For Freud's taste in microscopes, see http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk.]

Wikipedia's very extensive entry on Freud includes only one sentence that mentions crayfish: "In 1877, Freud moved to Ernst Brücke's physiology laboratory where he spent six years comparing the brains of humans and other vertebrates with those of frogs and invertebrates such as crayfish and lampreys."

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Golgi apparatus illustrated in a dorsal root ganglion neuronal cell body (from p. 674 in Golgi's 1903 Opera Omnia, Vol. 2, accessed at GoogleBooks).
 
These images (from pp. 382 and 383 in Golgi's 1903 Opera Omnia, Vol. 1, accessed at The Wellcome Collection) show one of the cerebellar neurons of a type now called "Golgi cells." 
Golgi tendon organ (p. 205 from Golgi's 1903 Opera Omnia, accessed at The Wellcome Collection).

Camillo Golgi (1843-1926)

Italian pathologist and histologist, commemorated in several eponyms, most notably the Golgi stain and the Golgi apparatus; also Golgi type 1 (long axon) neurons, Golgi type 2 (short axon) neurons, and Golgi cells of cerebellum.

Additional Golgi eponyms can be found at Whonamedit.com.

Golgi's most notable contribution to histology was the discovery not of a structure but of a technique, la reazione nera ("the black reaction"), which used potassium dichromate and silver nitrate to produce a black precipitate within particular structures.  The deposition of precipitate is quite variable and difficult to control, but in skilled hands results can be powerfully revealing.  Golgi's black reaction became famous as "Golgi impregnation" or "Golgi staining." 

For more about Golgi staining, see Wikipedia.

With this stain, Golgi discovered his apparato reticolare interno ("internal reticular apparatus").  This structure, which is especially elaborate in nerve cell bodies (e.g., top illustration at right), has become known as the Golgi apparatus.  Because results from the Golgi stain can be erratic, this structure remained suspect as a possible artifact until its reality was convincingly demonstrated decades later, by electron microscopy.  The Golgi apparatus is now understood to be an essential component of most cells, so that Golgi's name has become an integral part of the vocabulary of cell biology. 

For more about the Golgi apparatus, see www.genome.gov (brief definition), Wikipedia (extensive account), or National Library of Medicine (cell biology textbook chapter).

Golgi applied his stain to extensive pioneering studies of nervous tissue, as did his contemporary and intellectual rival Santiago Ramón y Cajal.  Both men were honored together by the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, "in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system."  Golgi's reputation in neuroscience was subsequently eclipsed by that of Cajal, primarily because Golgi stood on the wrong side of history in his understanding of neural organization.  Even as evidence to the contrary was accumulating, Golgi persisted in his belief that nervous tissue was an anastomosing reticulum, with cell bodies sharing cytoplasmic connections.  Cajal, in contrast, understood that nerve cells were distinct entities, each with long axonal and dendritic processes that made contact with other nerve cells at synapses but without cytoplasmic continuity, an understanding that became known as the "Neuron Doctrine."  These conflicting views are exhibited in their respective Nobel Prize acceptance speeches:  Golgi / Cajal.

A tidy summary of this neuroscience story can be found here, in a book review by Mitchell Glickstein of P. Mazzarello's 2009 biography, "Golgi: A Biography of the Founder of Modern Neuroscience" (ISBN: 978-0-19-533784-6).

Additional resources:

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Norbert Goormaghtigh (1890-1960)

Belgian physiolologist, commemorated in Goormaghtigh cells of the renal juxtaglomerular apparatus.

A detailed account of Goormaghtigh's investigations into the histophysiology of the juxtaglomerular apparatus (which he named) can be found in "The juxtaglomerular apparatus of Norbert Goormaghtigh -- a critical appraisal," by G. Eknoyan, et al. (2009) Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, V. 24, pp. 3876-3881 (https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfp503).

Additional information:

"Norbert Goormaghtigh and his contribution to the histophysiology of the kidney," by Hendrik Roels (2003), Journal of Nephrology, 16: 965-9.

Very brief biography at Wikipedia (in Dutch, easily translated by cut-and-pasting into GoogleTranslate.

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Reinier de Graaf (1641-1673)

Dutch physician and anatomist, commemorated in ovarian Graafian follicles.

De Graaf studied reproductive anatomy and physiology during a century when biologists were only beginning to understand the basic principles of animal reproduction.  The eponymous follicles were initially named ova Graafiana by Albrecht von Haller, pioneering physiologist who believed the follicle itself was the ovum.  (Spermatozoa were first reported by Leeuwenhoek shortly after De Graaf's death.  Karl Ernst von Baer is credited with finally observing mammalian oocytes in 1827.)

Additional biographical information:

Reinier De Graaf (1641-1673) and the Graafian follicle, by M. Thiery, Gynecological Surgery, vol. 6, pp. 189-191 (2009).

Brief biography, at The Embryo Project.

Brief biography, at Wikipedia

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William Harvey (1578-1657)

William Harvey, an English physician, worked in an era before microscopes; hence no histological eponyms are associated with his name. 

Nevertheless, included among Harvey's works is a list of tissue elements which loosely presages the pioneering work of Bichat (the "Father of Histology).  Bichat famously listed 21 simple tissue types.  Harvey's list includes substances in four broad categories:  "(a) liquids: blood, sperm, milk, ocular humours, rheum, bile, mucus, tears, ichor, serum; (b) solids: (i) soft: flesh of muscle, of gums etc., of parenchyma, and of glands, marrow, fat, lard, brain, lens of eye; (ii) firmer: fibre, membrane, vein, artery, skin, nerve, tendon, ligament; (iii) hard: bone, teeth, carapace, hair, cartilage, nail, claw, horn, quill, beak, feathers, scales" (as quoted in [ 2 ]).

And most significantly, Harvey predicted the necessity of invisibly small pores (i.e., capillaries) as an essential corollary of his theory of blood circulation. 

(Also see " Completing the puzzle of blood circulation: the discovery of capillaries," from ResearchGate.  For an extended account of subsequent history into the nature of capillaries, see "The history of the capillary wall: doctors, discoveries, and debates," by C. Hwa and W.C. Aird, in Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 293: H2667-H2679 (2007), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00704.)

Harvey presented his theory in a 1628 letter, addressed "To The Most Illustrious And Indomitable Prince Charles King Of Great Britain, France, And Ireland Defender Of The Faith":  Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus [ 1 ].

Capillaries were actually observed in 1661 by Marcello Malpighi; unfortunately Harvey did not live long enough to see this confirmation of his theory.  Harvey did observe veins and correctly describe their function.  His letter [ 1 ] included a nice illustration to guide easy classroom demonstration of the presence and function of valves in forearm veins: 

"...[L]et an arm be tied up above the elbow as if for phlebotomy (A, A, fig. 1).  At intervals in the course of the veins ... certain knots or elevations (B, C, D, E, F) will be perceived... [T]hese knots or risings are all formed by valves, which thus show themselves externally.  And now if you press the blood from the space above one of the valves, from H to O, (fig. 2,) and keep the point of a finger upon the vein inferiorly, you will see no influx of blood from above; the portion of the vein between the point of the finger and the valve O will be obliterated; yet will the vessel continue sufficiently distended above the valve (O, G).  The blood being thus pressed out and the vein emptied, if you now apply a finger of the other hand upon the distended part of the vein above the valve O, (fig. 3,) and press downwards, you will find that you cannot force the blood through or beyond the valve; but the greater effort you use, you will only see the portion of vein that is between the finger and the valve become more distended, that portion of the vein which is below the valve remaining all the while empty (H, O, fig. 3)." [ 1 ]

Cited references:
  1. On The Motion Of The Heart And Blood In Animals, 1628; translation from original Latin by Robert Willis, 1847 (from Fordham University).
  2. Harvey's list of tissue elements, from The anatomical lectures of William Harvey, is quoted in footnote 50 of Forrester, "The homoeomerous parts and their replacement by Bichat's tissues," Medical History, 1994, 38: 444-458.

Biography from Wikipedia.

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Arthur Hill Hassall (1817-1894)

British physician (general practitioner) commemorated in Hassall's corpuscles of thymus.

In 1849, Hassall published The microscopic anatomy of the human body, in health and disease, in two volumes, the first English language textbook of microscopic anatomy. 

Hassall's Plate LXI in Vol. 2 illustrates thymus; the small sketches in the upper left corner represent the eponymous corpuscles, referred to by the author as "compound cells."

From Hassall's preface:  "At the time when [the design of this work] was first conceived, the powers of the microscope in developing organic structure were but beginning to be known and appreciated, and the importance of its application to physiology and pathology was but dimly perceived... Now, one of the purposes [of this work] has been the collecting together of the numerous communications on general anatomy to be found scattered through the pages of our different scientific periodicals and their combination into a whole."

This textbook occupies a fascinating place in the history of histology, decades after Bichat's pioneering work (which had been completed without use of microscope) but only a few years after Schwann's establishment of Cell Theory.  Thus this book represents knowledge of microscopic anatomy prior to the development of effective techniques for preparing, sectioning, and staining tissue specimens.  The numerous illustrations in Hassall's volumes are often based on views of fine dissections and vascular injections rather than sections, and these commonly emphasize capillary beds.  (Scanning Hassell's INDEX OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS is a worthwhile exercise, to gain an appreciation for the incredibly comprehensive coverage of this work.)

A contemporary review in the Provincial Medical & Surgical Journal (1846) reported, "The author of this work, which is appearing with commendable regularity, in monthly parts, is already favourably known to science by his History of the British Fresh-Water Algae.  The design of this present undertaking is good, and we are glad to observe the attention of a British microscopist directed towards these objects, and to the supply of a desideratum in the medical literature of this country."

This textbook was produced fairly early in Hassall's productive career, which extended over six decades.  Consult resources below for additional biographical information.

Further resources

 

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Clopton Havers (1657-1702)

English physician, commemorated in Haversian canals.

Havers studied medicine at Utrecht University; his disputation (i.e., thesis defense) "On Respiration," was presented there in 1685. 

He was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London on 15 December 1686.  In 1691 he presented the work for which he is now best known, "Osteologia nova, or some new Observations of the Bones, and the Parts belonging to them, with the manner of their Accretion and Nutrition."

Unfortunately, this volume (in Wellcome Collection archive) lacks any illustrations of Havers' observations of microscopic anatomy of bone.

Curiously, in 1700 the Chinese practice of variolation for smallpox (i.e. vaccination) "was reported to the Royal Society ... by Dr. Clopton Havers... There is no evidence that this initial notice excited any attention within the medical establishment, and nothing more was heard of it in London for 13 years" [quotation from A History of Immunology, by Arthur M. Silverstein, 2012]

Biography:  Clopton Havers, by Jessie Dobson, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, vol. 34B, pp. 702-707 (1952).

Very brief bio from Wikipedia.

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Hans Held (1866-1942)

German anatomist, commemorated in "calyces of Held" and "endbulbs of Held," which are exceptionally large synaptic contacts in the brainstem.

The brainstem of a cat in half-section, midline at the left side, with the calyces of Held within the trapezoid nucleus [Trapezkern] at lower left, (beside the cross-hatched pyramidal tract).  Held refers to the eponymous calyces as Faserkörben [fiber baskets].

The eponymous calyces and endbulbs provide rapid and reliable synaptic transmission within the auditory system.  Their large size has facilitated research into synaptic function.  (For further reading, see below.)

The image at right is from: Held, H. (1893), "Die centrale Gehörleitung" [The central auditory pathway], Arch. Anat. Physiol. Anat. 17:201-248.  In this report, Held provides a thorough account of his research on auditory pathways in the brainstem, within the limits of the histotechnology available to him:

"My investigations on the finer terminations of the cochlear fibers in the brain were based on Golgi's chromosmium silver staining as applied by Ramón y Cajal and von Kölliker.  What that first method [Weigert's Haematoxylin myelin stain, in a previous report by Held] was unable to show, the dissolution of axonal cylinders into terminal branches, their origin from ganglion cells, is what the silver method is able to reveal, and because this method, under certain circumstances, distinguishes by color individual elements of a system from one another, it increases the possibility for the investigator to clearly recognize the composition of a pathway from originally different elements.  The use of this latter method, which is only capable of extensively staining small pieces of the brain, forces the investigator, if he wants to determine and fathom a system running over long distances with respect to the cells and fibers belonging to it, to make a composition of the details found at the individual points of the pathway in order to obtain a uniform picture of the entire system" [p. 202, translation with some help from DeepL Translator and Google Translate].

At the time this entry was being prepared, biographical information for Hans Held the anatomist was difficult to find on the internet; there was no biographical entry for Held in the English-language Wikipedia.  The following quote [per translation by DeepL] is taken from a brief biography at the German-language Wikipedia (this source also lists several of Held's publications).

"In 1888, [Held] moved to the University of Leipzig, where he received his doctorate in medicine in 1891 and became a habilitated private lecturer in 1893.  In 1899 he was appointed associate professor at the medical faculty, was 2nd prosector at the anatomical institute and became full professor of anatomy and histology in 1917."

More on the Calyx of Held

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Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle (1809-1885)

German physician, anatomist and pathologist, commemorated in the loops of Henle in the kidney, as well as numerous other anatomical structures.

After taking his doctor's degree at Bonn, Henle became a prosector for Johannes Müller (the great comparative anatomist commemorated in the "Müllerian duct") in Berlin.  Henle worked extensively in "general anatomy," including what we would now call comparative anatomy.  During his career, he held positions in Zürich, Heidelberg, and Göttingen.  In 1855 he released "the first instalment of his great Handbook of Systematic Human Anatomy, the last volume of which was not published until 1873.  This work was perhaps the most complete and comprehensive of its kind at that time, ... remarkable not only for the fullness and minuteness of its anatomical descriptions but also for the number and excellence of the illustrations" (quotation from the classic 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, available here, at Wikisource).

Renal medullary tubules are here shown in cross-section:  Collecting ducts are green, vasa recta yellow.

Images here are from Zur Anatomie der Niere (Gottingen, 1862; accessed at Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg), in which Henle described the eponymous loops of renal tubules.  That the renal medulla consisted of tubular loops had been noted a century earlier, by Exupère-Joseph Bertin.  It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the counter-current function of Henle's loops was understood as essential to the concentration of urine.  For an essay providing historical context for our understanding of kidney function, from Bellini in the 1600s through Malpighi and Bowman to the present, see "The loop of Henle as the milestone of mammalian kidney concentrating ability: a historical review," [Koulouridis & Koulouridis, Acta Med Hist Adriat 12:413-28 (2014)], available at PubMed or at ResearchGate.

In additional to his anatomical studies, Henle helped to found the theory of infectious disease caused by microorganisms.  His name is associated with that of Robert Koch, the Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist who is remembered in "Koch's postulates."

The Wikipedia entry includes a list of numerous additional anatomical eponyms for Henle.

A much more detailed essay on Henle's life and relationships (both professional and personal), "The professor and the seamstress: an episode in the life of Jacob Henle" (by Carlos Ortiz-Hidalgo, Gaceta Médica México 2015; 151:762-9), includes this curious note: "The story of Eliza Doolittle [in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion] resembles that of Elise Egloff, Jacob Henle's first wife."

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Christian Andreas Victor Hensen (1835-1924)

German physiologist, commemorated in Hensen's cells of the organ of corti in the inner ear, also Hensen's duct (ductus reuniens) of the vestibular system and Hensen's node of the chick embryo.

(For more on cells of Hensen, as well as on other eponyms associated with the inner ear, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms," Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311.)

Hensen was director of the Institute of Physiology at the University of Kiel.  In addition to anatomical, physiological, and embryological studies, Hensen participated in marine biological expeditions.  He is credited with coining the word "plankton."

Brief biography at Cochlear Explorers, as well as more information on Henson's cells

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Robert Hooke (1635-1703)

English polymath who made significant contributions to many areas of science.  Colleague of Isaac Newton (1643-1727).  Hooke has no eponyms in histology, but he is commemorated in "Hooke's Law" of elasticity in physics.  [More, Wikipedia]  [More, Britannica]

In biology, Robert Hooke's fame is due largely to Micrographia, his 1665 account of miscellaneous observations using an early compound microscope.  Here Hooke illustrated whatever was at hand, including a detailed drawing of a flea.  But it was Hooke's description of a thin slice of cork that cemented his fame as the discoverer of "cells." 

The cells which Hooke drew were tiny empty chambers.  But Hooke had no understanding of cells as small bits of living material.  In modern terms, Hooke's "cells" were the cell walls that had once surrounded living cells when the cork tree was alive.  But Hooke's term "cell" was eventually transferred to the living unit during the elaboration of Cell Theory by Schleiden and Schwann during the 1800s. 

Biologists have become so accustomed to calling a unit of biological organization a "cell" that we seldom notice that the word is an outrageous misnomer, one whose principal meaning remains that of "small empty chamber."

The full title of Micrographia is "Micrographia: or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses.  With Observations and Inquiries Thereupon."  The full text may be viewed here.

More on Hooke from "Pioneers in Optics."

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John Howship (1781-1841)

English surgeon, commemorated in Howship's lacuna, a site where matrix is reabsorbed during bone remodelling

Howship began his medical career as an assistant to surgeon John Heaviside, preparing demonstration dissections of pathological anatomy specimens.  Heaviside kept such specimens in a museum at his home, for exhibition to "respectable gentlemen."  Some of Howship's preparations are still preserved in the John Heaviside's Collection at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

"By the time of his death, [Howship] was one of the most distinguished surgeons in England.  Howship's most noteworthy publication was his book, Practical Observations in Surgery and Morbid Anatomy, published in 1816."  The preceding quote is taken from a very brief biography included in an article in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, vol. 16, pp. 472-476 (2015), "John Howship (1781-1841) and growing skull fracture: historical perspective," by S.C. Bir, et al.

The illustration of bone at left is from Howship's "Microscopic Observations on the Structure of Bone," Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, 1816, vol. 7, pp. 382-592 (doi: 10.1177/095952871600700129).  This report describes in some detail the difficulties Howship encountered during his efforts to prepare specimens of fresh bone for microscopic examination.

The brief biography at Whonamedit.com lists additional publications by Howship.

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Toshio Ito (1904-1991)

Japanese physician who discovered stellate fat-storing cells (hepatic stellate cells) in the space of Disse of the liver.  Commemorated in Ito cells

Sorting out the various cell types associated with liver sinusoids occupied much of a century; also see entry for Kupffer.

More, from Gastroenterology, "Ito of Ito cells," vol. 130, p. 714 (2006).

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Theodor Kerckring (ca. 1638-1693)

Dutch anatomist and chemist, commemorated in valves of Kerckring (= intestinal plicae).

Kerckring studied Latin with Spinozoa in Amsterden and studied anatomy under Franciscus Sylvius (noted eponyms: Sylvian fissure and aquaduct of Sylvius) at Leyden University.  Kerckring kept a museum; he is noted for his Spicilegium anatomicum (1670), a collection of miscellaneous anatomical observations which includes his description of the eponymous intestinal valves.

The following quotations are excerpted from "Theodore Kerckring and His 'Spicilegium Anatomicum'," by Albert G. Nicholls, The Canadian Medical Association Journal, pp. 480-483 (May 1940):

"The word 'Spicilegium' perhaps needs explanation.  It is derived from the Latin 'Spica', a spike or head, as of flowers or grain, and in the medical language of the day means an anthology or collection of observations which may be clinical, anatomical, or both.  These observations are presented individually on their merits and have no logical connection or sequence.  Spicilegia were quite popular in Kerckring's time among medical authors... Kerckring's Spicilegium is similar to most of the others, in that it is a sort of 'omnium gatherum' of clinical observations, rare occurrences, anatomical notes and curiosities, and autopsy findings."

"[quoting Kerckring] 'Obs[ervation] XXXIX:  In the colon and in the ileum many valves are found which, because they do not fill up the whole space, we call valvulae conniventes.' "

"[quoting Kerckring] 'Obs[ervation] XC:  A bad habit prevails in Europe of sucking the smoke of the herb Tobacco through tubes connected with it.  To show in what degree one who indulges in it very often may injure his health I submit to your attention the case of a man whom I sectioned [i.e., dissected] before a concourse of physicians.  Being addicted to immoderate indulgence in these smoky delights he would undertake scarcely any business without inhaling this smoke, which was, as it appeared, fatal for him... What about his trachea?  Like a chimney, everywhere covered with a black soot; the lungs dry and collapsed, almost friable.' "

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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August Köhler (1866-1948)

German biologist and physicist, inventor of "Köhler illumination," an optical method for uniformly illuminating a microscopic specimen.

Köhler's doctoral research at the University of Giessen, studying the taxonomy of limpets (a type of gastropod mollusc), depended on high quality photomicrography.  This effort was hampered by lack of a satisfactory means for providing bright, uniform illumination to the microscope's field of view.

To overcome this problem, Köhler developed an optical configuration, now known as "Köhler illumination," which he published in Zeitschrift für wissenschaftlichen Mikroskopie (v. 10: pp. 433-440) in 1893, the same year that he received his doctorate.

"Yet, other researchers in the field did not immediately realize the significance and importance of the Köhler illumination methodology.  In fact, ... Köhler's name seemed as if it might vanish into obscurity as he left the University of Geissen to work as a grammar school teacher in Bingen, Germany."  [excerpt from a much more extensive biography of Köhler at Pioneers in Optics, from Florida State University.]

In 1900, however, Köhler was hired by the Zeiss Optical Works where he continued work improving the tools and techniques of microscopy.  His invention has since been widely adopted by microscopists everywhere.

Explanation of optics for Köhler illumination, from "Optical Microscopy Primer."
This website is an excellent resource for understanding microscopes and their history.
Also see "Pioneers in optics" for more on the history of optics and microscopy

Simplified explanation of Köhler optics from Wikipedia.

Köhler's original publication, in German.
English translation of Köhler's original publication.

[More about Köhler, from Wikipedia]

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Esssential microanatomy of kidney, from Kölliker's Handbuch der Gewebelehre.  Vasculature is shown on left side, epithelial tubules on right.  (Loops of Henle were not yet understood in 1852.)
Rudolph Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905)

Swiss zoologist / embryologist / anatomist / physiologist.  Kölliker has been called the "father of modern histology" (e.g., [1]).  Note "modern" in this appellation; Kölliker should not be confused with Bichat, an earlier "father of histology" who had previously defined a foundation for tissue studies but who did not himself use a microscope.  In spite of Kölliker's stature, eponyms commemorating his discoveries are rather obscure:  Kölliker's organ in the developing inner ear [2] and Kölliker's organs in baby octopus. 

In 1852, Kölliker published a comprehensive textbook, Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen (translated into English in 1854 as Manual of human histology).  This text continued through several editions (the 6th in 1902) and served for generations to define the field of study now known as histology.  The 6th edition is also a rare historical resource; a review in Nature of the 6th edition declared, "Too much praise cannot be given to the bibliographical notices, which are far more complete than are to be found in any other work on histology."

Note that Kölliker used the vernacular "Gewebelehre" (literally, "tissue-teaching") rather than the German-language alternative "Histologie" that had been introduced in 1819 by Mayer's text Ueber Histologie. 

Unlike the authors of prior texts such Mayer (1819) and Hassall (1849), Kölliker emphasized cells as the basis for tissue structure.

Kölliker's place in the history of histology is nicely captured in the following excerpts from the classic 1911 edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica [3]:

"Kölliker's name will ever be associated with that of the tool with which during his long life he so assiduously and successfully worked, the microscope.  The time at which he began his studies coincided with that of the revival of the microscopic investigation of living beings.  Two centuries earlier the great Italian Malpighi had started, and with his own hand had carried far the study by the help of the microscope of the minute structure of animals and plants.  After Malpighi this branch of knowledge, though continually progressing, made no remarkable bounds forward until the second quarter of the 19th century, when the improvement of the compound microscope on the one hand, and the promulgation by Theodor Schwann and Matthias Schleiden of the "cell theory" on the other, inaugurated a new era of microscopic investigation. 

"Into this new learning Kölliker threw himself with all the zeal of youth, wisely initiated into it by his great teacher Henle...  But Kölliker had another teacher besides Henle, the even greater Johannes Müller, whose active mind was sweeping over the whole animal kingdom, striving to pierce the secrets of the structure of living creatures of all sorts, and keeping steadily in view the wide biological problems of function and of origin, which the facts of structure might serve to solve.  We may probably trace to the influence of these two great teachers, strengthened by the spirit of the times, the threefold character of Kölliker's long-continued and varied labours... 

Caption from translation of Handbuch der Gewebelehre:  "Finest vessels on the arterial side of the capillaries.  1, an artery of the smallest size; 2, transitional vesssel; 3, coarser capillary; 4, finer capillary: a, structureless coat, with a few nuclei, representing the t. adventitia; b, nuclei of the muscular fibre-cells; c, nuclei within the minute artery, probably still belonging to an epithelium; d, nuclei of the capillaries and transitional vessels."

"He was among the first, if not the very first, to introduce into [embryology] the newer microscopic technique -- the methods of hardening, section-cutting and staining.  By doing so, not only was he enabled to make rapid progress himself, but he also placed in the hands of others the means of a like advance.

"But neither zoology nor embryology furnished Kölliker's chief claim to fame.  If he did much for these branches of science, he did still more for histology, the knowledge of the minute structure of the animal tissues.  This he made emphatically his own.  It may indeed be said that there is no fragment of the body of man and of the higher animals on which he did not leave his mark, and in more places than one his mark was a mark of fundamental importance.  Among his earlier results may be mentioned the demonstration in 1847 that smooth or unstriated muscle is made up of distinct units, of nucleated muscle-cells...  A few years before this men were doubting whether arteries were muscular, and no solid histological basis as yet existed for those views as to the action of the nervous system on the circulation, which were soon to be put forward, and which had such a great influence on the progress of physiology.

Nerve cell, from Handbuch der Gewebelehre.

"Even to enumerate, certainly to dwell on, all his contributions to histology would be impossible here...  The results at which he arrived were recorded partly in separate memoirs, partly in his great textbook on microscopical anatomy, which first saw the light in 1850, and by which he advanced histology no less than by his own researches.  In the case of almost every tissue our present knowledge contains something great or small which we owe to Kölliker; but it is on the nervous system that his name is written in largest letters.  So early as 1845, while still at Zürich, he supplied what was as yet still lacking, the clear proof that nerve-fibres are continuous with nerve-cells, and so furnished the absolutely necessary basis for all sound speculations as to the actions of the central nervous system...

"Naturally a man of so much accomplishment was not left without honours.  Formerly known simply as Kölliker, the title "von" was added to his name.  He was made a member of the learned societies of many countries; in England, which he visited more than once, and where he became well known, the Royal Society made him a fellow in 1860, and in 1897 gave him its highest token of esteem, the Copley medal." 

To offset somewhat the patently hagiographic tone of the above account from Encyclopedia Britannica, it might be mentioned here that Kölliker was critical of Darwinism and supported a non-Darwinian view of evolutionary processes [4].

Works by Kölliker

Kölliker, A. Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen, 1852.

Kölliker, A. Manual of human microscopical anatomy, 1854, translation by George Busk and Thomas Henry Huxley

Kölliker, A. Entwicklungsgeschichte des Menschen und der höheren Thiere. Leipzig: Engelmann; 1879.

Partial collection of additional works by A. Kölliker, at Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Additional information

Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905) Würtzburger Histologist. pdf at JAMA. 1968;206(9):2111-2112. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150090187031

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

Citations noted above

[1] "The history of radial glia," by Marina Bentivoglio & Paolo Mazzarello, Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 49, p. 305, 1999 (https://doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(99)00065-9).

[2] "Kölliker's Organ and the Development of Spontaneous Activity in the Auditory System," by M. W. Nishani Dayaratne et al, BioMed Research International http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/367939

[3] The classic 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) is in public domain and accessible through several online sources, such as Project Gutenberg and Wikisource.

[4] Citations for Kölliker's non-Darwinian view are provided in the Kölliker entry in Wikipedia.


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Wilhelm Krause (1833-1910)

German anatomist, commemorated in endbulbs of Krause (mucocutaneous receptors).

Unlike receptor cells in special sense organs, "the receptors in or beneath the surface of the skin were generally named after those who first described them (e.g., Golgi tendon organs, Krause end-bulbs, Meissner's corpuscles, Merkel discs, Pacinian corpuscles, and Ruffini cylinders)" ["Receptor Visionaries," by Nicholas Wade, Perception, 47: 833-850 (2018)].

Selected publications by Krause:

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Karl Wilhelm von Kupffer (1829-1902)

German anatomist whose major work was in embryology and neuroanatomy, but who is commemorated in Kupffer cells of the liver

While using a gold chloride stain to find nerve fibers in the liver, Kupffer observed stellate cells, which he described in 1876 as "Sternzellen" (literally, "star-cells"), associated with liver sinusoids.  In 1898, he reported that these cells could take up carbon particles from India ink injected into blood vessels.  Sorting out the identities of several sinusoid-associated cell types -- including liver macrophages (now known as Kupffer cells), the vitamin-storing stellate cells (now known as Ito cells), and hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells -- took several decades. 

Some of this history is reported in some detail, along with biographical information, in "Karl Wilhelm Kupffer And His Contributions To Modern Hepatology," Comparative Hepatology (2004), by Kenjiro Wake.

Selected publications by Kupffer

  • "Ueber Sternzellen der Leber. Briefliche Mitteilung an Prof. Waldyer" [About stellate cells of the liver. Letter to Prof. Waldyer]. Arch mikr Anat 1876, 12:353-358.
  • "Ueber die sogennanten Sternzellen der Säugethierleber" [About the so-called stellate cells of the mammalian liver]. Arch mikr Anat 1899, 54:254-288.

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Karl Langer (1819-1887)

Austrian anatomist, commemorated in Langer's lines

Click on image for a more complete diagram of the "cleavability of the cutis," as illustrated by Langer.

Langer's 1861 description of Langer's lines is fascinating; it may found here:

"On the anatomy and physiology of the skin.  I. The cleavability of the cutis," British Journal of Plastic Surgery, v. 31 pp. 3-8, 1978.  [Translated from Langer, K. (1861). "Zur Anatomie und Physiologie der Haut.  I. Uber die Spaltbarkeit der Cutis," Sitzungsbericht der Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Classe der Kaiserlichen Academic der Wissenschaften, v. 44, p. 19.]

More on Langer's lines, from Wikipedia.

Brief bio from Wikipedia.

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Paul Langerhans (1847-1888)

German histologist, commemorated in islets of Langerhans and Langerhans cells

Langerhans attended school in Jena, where he was a pupil of Ernst Haeckel.  He subsequently worked at the Berlin Pathological Institute in the laboratory of Rudolf Virchow (the "father of pathology") who became a close friend.  In 1868, while still a medical student, Langerhans described the dendritic epidermal cells which now bear his name and which he regarded as sensory.  (It took over a century before the immunological function of Langerhans cells was appreciated.) 

Shortly after, in his 1869 dissertation, Langerhans described cells forming "roundish little heaps" (rundlichen Häuflein) in the pancreas of rabbits and other animals; these cell clusters were named "ilots de Langerhans" in 1893 by the French histologist G.-E. Languesse, who described them in humans.  It remained for other researchers to work out the endocrine nature of these cell clusters.  (Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering famously induced diabetes in 1889, by surgically removing a dog's pancreas.  This experiment had already been performed more than two centuries earlier by Johann von Brunner, but Brunner failed to connect the symptoms which his operation produced with the disease of diabetes.) 

Langerhans also contributed to studies on pathology of tuberculosis; he was forced to retire to the island of Madeira after contracting the disease himself.  During his years in Madeira he continued to practice medicine as well as pursue studies on comparative and invertebrate anatomy, until his early death at age 40.

"Contributions to the microscopic anatomy of the pancreas" (a reprint, with complete translation by H. Morrison, of Langerhans' Beiträge zur mikroskopischen Anatomie der Bauchspeicheldrüse, 1869) includes a splendid introductory essay by Morrison describing Langerhans' pancreatic research as well as offering considerable biographical detail.  This translation and essay were published in the Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, Vol. 5, pp. 259-297, 1937.

Brief biography from Journal of Clinical Pathology, vol. 55, p. 243 (2002), by S. Jolles.  For more, see the citation above.

Brief biography from Diabetes, vol. 1, pp. 411-413 (1952), by J.H. Barach.

Additional publications by Langerhans, from Deutsche Biographie.

Brief biography from Wikipedia.

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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)

Dutch businessman (he ran a drapers shop) and amateur scientist, elected into the Royal Society of London in 1680.  Although not commemorated in any familiar histological eponyms, Leeuwenhoek is known as the "Father of Microbiology" for his discoveries of living things too small to be seen with the unaided eye. 

Leeuwenhoek used powerful single-lens instruments which he made himself.  Compound microscopes (based on the principle of two lenses: an objective lens which projects a magnified image that is then magnified further by an eyepiece lens) had already been invented and applied to good effect by researchers such as Robert Hooke.  Compound microscopes were potentially more powerful as well as easier to use than Leeuwenhoek's simple lenses, but Leeuwenhoek proved uniquely able to apply his simple instruments to make momentous discoveries.  He described these discoveries in many letters to the Royal Society of London, where his letters were translated into English or Latin by Henry Oldenburg (1618-1677, first secretary to the Royal Society), who introduced the famous term "animalcules" in these translations.  Included among these letters were Leeuwenhoek's brief descriptions of teeth and bone:

"Microscopical observations of the structure of teeth and other bones" (1675), Phil. Trans. vol. 12, pp. 1002-1003.

More on Leeuwenhoek from "Pioneers in Optics."

Biography from Wikipedia.

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Franz von Leydig (1821-1908)

German zoologist and comparative anatomist, commemorated in Leydig cells (interstitial cells of testis).

The remainder of this entry is largely gleaned from "Franz von Leydig (1821-1908), pioneer of comparative histology" [M. Schneider, 2012, Journal of Medical Biography, vol. 20, pp, 79-83; doi: 10.1258/jmb.2011.011013)].  The interested reader is encouraged to access this paper at an academic library.

Leydig received his doctorate in Würzburg, where he subsequently taught microscopic anatomy under the supervision of Albert von Kölliker.  He later served in positions in Tübingen and Bonn.

Leydig's interest in natural history began in childhood.  His first microscope, at age 12, had lenses held by wooden and cardboard fittings.  His lifelong career in zoological research, including numerous studies of a wide range of invertebrate as well as vertebrate animals, is surveyed in his last book, Horae Zoologicae," published in 1902.

The book generally regarded as his most important, Lehrbuch der Histologie des Menschen und der Tiere (Textbook of histology of humans and animals) (1857), established Leydig's reputation as a founder of comparative histology.

Ironically, Leydig's description of the eponymous testicular cells, from which his name remains familiar, appears in one of his few works on mammals: Zur Anatomie der männlichen Geschlechtsorgane und Analdrüsen der Säugetiere (On the anatomy of the male sexual organs and anal glands of mammals), Z. Wiss. Zool. (1850) 2:1-57.

His former students and colleagues regarded Leydig as "modest, sensitive and considerate."  Rather charmingly, a 1908 obituary [M. Nussbaum, "Franz von Leydig." Anatomischer Anzeiger, 19-20: 503-6] notes that Leydig "lacked the ability to make himself feared by others."

Additional links:

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Johann Lieberkühn (1711-1756)

German physician, commemorated in crypts of Lieberkühn of the intestine.

Lieberkühn began his academic career following his father's wish that he study theology in preparation for the ministry, but he also studied natural sciences.  After his father's death (and with permission from the king of Prussia to abandon his career in ministry), Lieberkühn was able to devote his full attention to physical science and medicine.  He obtained his medical degree from Leiden in 1739.

Lieberkühn invented improvements to his optical instruments.  To examine blood vessels in microscopic detail (capillaries had been first described by Malpighi in the previous century), Lieberkühn built special-purpose microscopes, called "wonder-glasses" (Wundergläser) upon which a living animal, such as a frog, could be fastened to observe the flow of blood.  He invented the Lieberkühn reflector to illuminate opaque specimens.  (A Lieberkühn reflector is a concave mirror surrounding the end of a microscope's objective lens, to concentrate light directly upon the viewing area).

In his De fabrica et actione vollorum intestinorum tenuium hominis (1745), Lieberkühn describes, along with much else, the eponymous intestinal "glands" for which he is remembered today.  [The two images in this entry come from a 1782 edition available at the Wellcome Collection.]

In his later career, Lieberkühn was noted for masterful preparation of durable preserved specimens, widely distributed for use in anatomical demonstration.

For additional details of Lieberkühn's life and work, see Whonamedit ("a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms").  This entry includes further description of his inventions related to microscopy.

For a very brief bio, see Wikipedia.

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Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694)

Italian scientist, commemorated in Malpighian corpuscles (i.e., renal corpuscles), the Malpighian layer of epidermis (i.e., stratum basale + stratum spinosum), and Malpighian tubules (i.e., excretory organs of insects).

Malpighi is commonly designated as "the Father of Microscopic Anatomy."

The life of Marcello Malpighi began at the dawning of scientific appreciation for optical instruments.  At the time of Malpighi's birth (1628), Galileo Galilei (1564 -1641) was still reporting wonders in the heavens discovered with his telescope.  Malpighi's contemporaries included pioneering microscopist Robert Hooke, whose work might have inspired Malpighi.  Hooke typically receives much more attention in introductory biology texts, but Malpighi's contributions to anatomy were more considerable.  Malpighi was employed, at various times, on the medical faculties of Pisa, Messina, and Bologna.  In the last few years of his life he was private physician to Pope Innocent XII.  Malpighi shared many of his observations, as did Hooke and Leeuwenhoek, through letters to the Royal Society of London (founded in 1660); although Italian, Malpighi became a Fellow of the Royal Society soon after (or an honorary member; consulted sources vary).

Malpighi's diagram of frog lung (top)
and alveolar capillaries (bottom),
from De pulmonibus... [ 2 ]

The Encyclopedia Britannica's classic eleventh edition (1911; vol. 17, p. 497) offers a nice summary of Malpighi's research [ 1 ]:

"Malpighi was one of the first to apply the microscope to the study of animal and vegetable structure; and his discoveries were so important that he may be considered to be the founder of microscopic anatomy...

"Although Harvey [i.e., William Harvey, who first described the circulation of blood in 1628] had correctly inferred the existence of the capillary circulation, he had never seen it; it was reserved for Malpighi in 1661 (four years after Harvey's death) to see for the first time the marvellous spectacle of the blood coursing through a network of small tubes on the surface of the lung and of the distended urinary bladder of the frog... [Note:  Capillary circulation may be readily observed without vivisection, albeit still with some inconvenience to the animal, by placing the tail of a living fish or the ear of a rabbit on the stage of a microscope.]

"...[Malpighi's] discovery of the capillary circulation was given to the world in the form of two letters De Pulmonibus; ... these letters contained also the first account of the vesicular structure of the human lung, and they made a theory of respiration for the first time possible...  The achievement that comes next both in importance and in order of time was a demonstration of the plan of structure of secreting glands; against the current opinion ... that the glandular structure was essentially that of a closed vascular coil from which the secretion exuded, he maintained that the secretion was formed in terminal acini standing in open communication with the ducts...

"The name of Malpighi is still associated with his discovery of the soft or mucous character of the lower stratum of the epidermis [i.e., stratum basale + stratum spinosum], of the vascular coils in the cortex of the kidney [i.e., renal corpuscles], and of the follicular bodies in the spleen [i.e., splenic white pulp].  He was the first to attempt the finer anatomy of the brain, and his descriptions of the distribution of grey matter and of the fibre-tracts in the cord, with their extensions to the cerebrum and cerebellum, are distinguished by accuracy, but his microscopic study of the grey matter conducted him to the opinion that it was of glandular structure and that it secreted the 'vital spirits.'"

Several of the above discoveries were published in De viscera structura exercitatio anatomica, 1666.  A compelling account, translated into English from Malpighi's own hand, is reproduced in "Completing the puzzle of blood circulation: the discovery of capillaries," by M. Karamanou and G. Androutsos, in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, v. 115, pp. 175-179 (2010), available here (from ResearchGate) or here (from the National Library of Medicine).

The above excerpts emphasize Malpighi's contributions to vertebrate histology.  He also contributed more broadly to microscopic anatomy in zoology and botany.

Early microscopists faced a challenge also shared by early telescopic astronomers -- establishing the reality of observed phenomena, and then convincing others that their reports were not just artifacts.  Early optical instruments certainly did introduce artifactual appearances, notably diffraction fringes which can still mislead modern microscopists when condenser and focus are not optimally adjusted [see Kohler illumination].  Tissue microscopists must contend not only with optical imperfections but also with difficulties attending specimen preparation.  Without fixation and staining, most biological tissues are relatively uninformative.  But microscopes and microscopic anatomy arose during the time of alchemy, when chemical knowledge was quite limited.  It took centuries to discover, through persistent trial and error, how to minimize artifacts such as extraneous chemical precipitates and distortion of tissue and cell elements.

In 1683, in consideration of primitive histological protocols, ridicule was heaped on "those that flay dogs and cats, dry, roast, bake, parboil, steep in vinegar, limewater, or aqua fortis livers, lungs, kidneys, calves' brains, or any other entrail, and afterwards gaze on little particles of them through a microscope" [ 3 ] (these were all methods for separating animal organs into component tissues; c.f., Bichat).  Renowned philosopher John Locke, in spite of visiting Leeuwenhoek and seeing microscopic creatures for himself, remained unconvinced of the value of microscopy.  In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), Locke "insisted that if we had microscopes for eyes, the knowledge we gained would be useless...  God, in fact, has adapted our senses to our needs.  Consequenty, microscopical science is 'lost labour' " [ 3 ].

Malpighi's observations were often conducted during vivisection rather than after chemical preservation.  Nevertheless, such work was repeatedly criticized by colleagues as having no medical value.  Indeed, one of Malpighi's own students "mounted a direct attack on his professor:  'It is our firm opinion that the anatomy of the exceedingly small, internal conformation of the viscera, which has been extolled in these very times [i.e., by Malpighi] is of use to no physician' " [3].  Indeed, "the immense impact of Malpighi's microscopic studies provoked envy and criticism on the part of his contemporaries; a conflict that reached a boiling point in 1683 when his house was burnt and his manuscripts, notes and laboratory equipment were destroyed completely" [ 4 ].

Toward the end of his life, Malpighi wrote his Opera Posthuma, which included an eloquent reply to his critics [ 5 ]:

Nature ... in order to carry out the marvelous operations [that occur] in animals and plants has been pleased to construct their organized bodies with a very large number of machines, which are of necessity made up of extremely minute parts so shaped and situated as to form a marvelous organ, the structure and composition of which are usually invisible to the naked eye without the aid of a microscope. ... Just as Nature deserves praise and admiration for making machines so small, so too the physician who observes them to the best of his ability is worthy of praise, not blame, for he must also correct and repair these machines as well as he can every time they get out of order.

But even in this posthumous work, Malpighi conceded that "microanatomy ... belonged to natural philosophy and not to medicine" [ 3 ].  As a result of such criticism (and of such concessions), two centuries passed before microscopic anatomy began to occupy a place in the standard medical curriculum.

Even in our own time, histology often receives less appreciation than other medical topics, perhaps because histology is often presented to students more as a list of details to memorize than as a celebration "of extremely minute parts so shaped and situated as to form a marvelous organ."

References cited above

  1. The classic 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) is accessible through several online sources, including here, at Wikisource.
     
  2. Marcello Malpighi, De pulmonibus observationes anatomicae (1661) [from Wellcome Collection, Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)].
     
  3. Quotations are from Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates, by David Wootton, Oxford U.P. 2006 (accessible through GoogleBooks).
     
  4. M. Karamanou and G. Androutsos, Completing the puzzle of blood circulation: the discovery of capillaries, Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, v. 115, pp. 175-179 (2010) [available here (from ResearchGate) or here (from the National Library of Medicine)] includes not only Malpighi's own words, as mentioned above, but also additional fascinating information about his life.
     
  5. This translated excerpt from Opera Posthuma is reproduced in several sources.

Additional internet references

  • "Completing the puzzle of blood circulation: the discovery of capillaries," by M. Karamanou and G. Androutsos, in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, v. 115, pp. 175-179 (2010) [available here (from ResearchGate) or here (from the National Library of Medicine)] includes not only Malpighi's own words, as mentioned above, but also additional fascinating information about his life.
     
  • A sampling of illustrations (including botany and invertebrate zoology) from Malpighi's Opera Omnia, as well as a nice essay:  here.
     
  • An essay describing Malpighi's research on lung from the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiologyhere.
     
  • A biographical essay from the International Journal of Morphology 29: 399-402 (2011):  here

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August Franz Joseph Karl Mayer (1787-1865)

German anatomist/physiologist.  Mayer's wrote on a wide range of topics (see publication list at Wikipedia), often in support of abstract concepts in "Naturphilosophie" (more below). 

We will here credit Karl Mayer for establishing the word "histology" (German, "histologie") as the name for a new science, in his 1819 book Ueber Histologie und eine neue Eintheilung der Gewebe des menschlichen Körpers ["On histology and a new division of tissues of the human body"].

Prior to Bichat ("the Father of Histology"), histology did not yet exist as a distinct branch of anatomical science.  And Bichat himself did not provide a label for the discipline that he was founding.  Some sources claim the word "histology" itself was coined by Craig; this is presumably based on the "histology" entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (which lists "Craig 1847, the doctrine of the organic tissues" as the first use of the term in English).  However, the term appears decades earlier in the title for Mayer's brief tome, which reviewed Bichat's work.

Full text of Ueber Histologie... is available from GoogleBooks

One of Mayer's publications, Die Metamorphose der Monaden, which begins with extended quotes (in Latin) from Malpighi and Leeuwenhoek, is intriguing from a histological perspective.  The subject is the life of blood cells, but for a modern reader Mayer's perspective in Naturphilosophie appears quite peculiar.  (Googling "metamorphosis of monads" takes one directly to philosophical works by Leibnitz, on the nature of reality.)  The following quotation is taken from N. Rüdinger (1885), at Wikisource, quoting Algemeine Deutsche Biographie.

"[Mayer's] research was broad in scope, extended to comparative anatomy [e.g., whale skin, fish brains], physiology, and anthropology [e.g., Neanderthal fossils], and was all permeated by the speculative spirit that prevailed at the time...  [A number of his writings] contain sober, exact observations.  But besides the simple works on the umbilical vesicle, the cilia, the pharyngeal bursa, [and] the ganglia of the hypoglossal nerve, there are at the same time others which address quite far-reaching questions, such as those on the law of gravity, reflex movement without spinal cord, yolk furrowing on the blood sphere, and the like, works which contain results that are characteristic of the naturalist of that time.  The natural processes were all too often exploited only to gain apparent documentation for a priori philosophical ideas." [Translation assisted by DeepL Translate and GoogleTranslate]

Brief biography, from Wikipedia.
(Not-quite-so-brief biography, from German-language Wikipedia.)

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Georg Meissner (1829-1905)

German anatomist and physiologist, commemorated in Meissner's plexus (submucosal plexus of gastrointestinal tract) and Meissner's corpuscles (tactile sensory receptors).

While studying medicine in Göttingen, Meissner collaborated with his professor Rudolf Wagner, with whom he reported the discovery of the eponymous tactile corpuscles:

Wagner, R., & Meissner, G. (1852), "On the presence of previously unknown peculiar corpuscles (corpuscula tactus) in the sensory cusps of the human skin and on the end propagation of sensitive nerves" [Über das Vorhandensein bisher unbekannter eigentümlicher Tastkörperchen (corpuscula tactus) in den Gefühlswärzchen der menschlichen Haut und ü'ber die Endausbreitung sensitiver Nerven], Nachrichten von der Georg-Augusts-Universität und der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Vol. 2, pp. 17-30.

The image to right, showing two nerve fibers entering and winding about within a tactile corpuscle, is from Meissner's Beiträge zur Anatomie und Physiologie der Haut (Leipzig 1853)  [accessed at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek].

According to a fairly extensive entry for Meissner at Whonamedit.com, Meissner later reported the discovery under his own name, in his dissertation, leading to conflict with Wagner over priority (with subsequent reconciliation).

Meissner's eponymous submucosal plexus is described in "About the nerves of the intestinal wall" [Über die Nerven der Darmwand], Zeitschrift für rationelle Medizin, Neue Folge Vol. 8, pp. 364-366 (1857).

Meissner served as doctoral advisor for a notable student, Robert Koch, the Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist who is remembered in "Koch's postulates."  (For a modern perspective on Koch's postulates, see here.)

Additional biographical information can be found at Whonamedit.com and at Wikipedia.

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Friedrich Sigmund Merkel (1845-1919)

German anatomist, commemorated in Merkel discs and Merkel cells of epidermis.

After receiving his doctorate, Merkel worked as prosector with Jakob Henle in Göttingen.  He moved on to faculty positions in Rostok and in Königsberg before returning to Göttingen in 1885 to serve as Henle's successor.

Unlike receptor cells in organs of special sense, "the receptors in or beneath the surface of the skin were generally named after those who first described them (e.g., Golgi tendon organs, Krause end-bulbs, Meissner's corpuscles, Merkel discs, Pacinian corpuscles, and Ruffini cylinders)" ["Receptor Visionaries," by Nicholas Wade, Perception, 47: 833-850 (2018)].

In a multivolume textbook on human anatomy, Merkel introduced the now common practice in anatomical diagrams of indicating arteries, veins, and nerves with the colors red, blue, and yellow [per "Demystifying Merkel," JAMA Dermatol (2014) 150:814. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.225.]

Selected publication by Merkel:

  • F. S. Merkel, "Über die Endigungen der sensiblen Nerven in der Haut der Wirbeltiere" [On sensory nerve terminations in the skin of vertebrates], Rostock, 1880.

Very brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Nissl bodies (dark patches) in a cortical pyramidal cell; image by Nissl, from Histologische und histopathologische Arbeiten, plate xxii, figure 18.

Franz Nissl (1860-1919)

German neuropathologist / neuroanatomist commemorated in the Nissl stain and the associated Nissl bodies.

Section of cortex from human postcentral gyrus, stained by the Nissl method.  [Image by Ramón y Cajal, from Histologie du systeme nerveux, vol. 2, p. 521].

Nissl studied medicine at the University of Munich, where he based a prize-winning essay on fixation and staining techniques that he had developed.  His doctoral dissertation, Resultate und Erfahrungen bei der Untersuchung der pathologischen Veränderungen der Nervenzellen in der Grosshirnrinde [Results and experiences in examining the pathological changes in the nerve cells in the cerebral cortex] was written on the same topic as this essay.  For the remainder of his career, Nissl continued research into the histological correlates of mental disease; among his colleagues and collaborators were Alois Alzhheimer and Korbinian Brodmann.

The Nissl stain is an historically important method of accentuating nerve cell bodies.  This method greatly facilitated the mapping of central nervous tissue, notably by Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Korbinian Brodmann.

Among Nissl's works are Ueber eine neue Untersuchungsmethode des Centralorgans zur Feststellung der Localisation der Nervenzellen [About a new method of investigation of the central organ to determine the Localization of nerve cells] (Neurologisches Centralblatt, Leipzig, 1894, 13: 507-508) and (as editor) Histologische und histopathologische Arbeiten über die Grosshirnrinde: mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der pathologischen Anatomie der Geisteskrankheiten [Histological and histopathological works on the cerebral cortex:with special reference to the pathological anatomy of mental diseases].

Additional links:
Nissl method, at Wikipedia.
Nissl bodies, at Wikipedia.
Brief biography, at Whonamedit.com.

 

 

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Jean-Pierre Nuel (1847-1920)

Luxembourgian-Belgian ophthalmologist, commemorated in "Nuel's space" within the organ of Corti of the inner ear.

Nuel reported his research on the mammalian cochlea in both German (1872) and French (1878), offering additional detail and correction to prior reports by Boettcher and Deiters

For more on Nuel's space, see Cochlear Explorers - Part VIII -- Space of Nuel.  For Nuel's space and additional eponyms associated with the inner ear, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms" (Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311).

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Pacini's drawing, included in Aurelio Bianchi's "Report and catalog of Filippo Pacini's manuscripts in the National Central Library of Florence" [Relazione e catalogo dei manoscritti di Filippo Pacini esistenti nella R. Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Firenze], 1889.  Image accessed at The Wellcome Collection.]
Vater's 1741 drawing showing "Papillae Nerveae, attached in large quantities to the digital nerves" (quote from Bentivoglio & Pacini 1995, below).  [Image accessed at The Wellcome Collection.]
 
Filippo Pacini (1812-1883)

Italian anatomist, commemorated in Pacinian corpuscles of skin.

As a 19-year-old medical student in 1831, Pacini noticed the eponymous corpuscles during dissection and reported his observation in 1835.  He was not aware that the corpuscles had been previously observed and reported nearly a century earlier, by Abraham Vater (who is himself commemorated in the ampulla of Vater, of the hepatopancreatic duct).

"This microscope slide, prepared by Pacini in 1854, was clearly identified as containing the cholera bacillus."  (Image and caption from Wikimedia Commons.)

In 1854, during a widespread cholera epidemic, Pacini discovered and reported on the causative agent for the disease.  30 years later, the cholera vibrio was rediscovered and reported by Robert Koch.  Both discoveries were initially ignored or discounted by the medical establishment of the time, in favor of the prevailing miasmic theory of contagion.  Koch's reputation eclipsed that of Pacini, so for many years Koch was credited with the discovery.  Nevertheless, Pacini's priority was eventually recognized (see here), and in 1965 Pacini was finally and officially acknowledged as author of both genus and species of Vibrio cholerae Pacini 1854, by the Judicial Commission of the International Committee on Bacteriological Nomenclature.  This story is nicely told in "Who First Discovered Vibrio cholera," at the John Snow website.  (John Snow was the famed London doctor and pioneering epidemiologist who during the same 1854 epidemic determined that cholera was a waterborn disease, infamously spread by "the Broad Street pump.")

A readable, and much more complete, account of Pacini's research is available here, from M. Bentivoglio and P. Pacini, "Flippo Pacini: a determined observer," Brain Research Bulletin Vol. 38, pp. 161-165 (1995).  (For more, see " The greatest steps towards the discovery of Vibrio cholerae.")

Brief biographies, each including summary accounts of Pacini's discoveries both of the tactile corpuscles and of the cholera vibrio, are offered by Wikipedia and by Whonamedit.com.

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Josef Paneth (1857-1890)

Austrian physiologist, commemorated in Paneth cells

The intestinal crypt cells now known as Paneth cells were first described by Gustav Schwalbe (Austrian anatomist, 1844-1916) in Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, vol. 8, pp. 92-140 (1872).  Paneth subsequently recognized their secretory function, which he reported sixteen years later in the same journal, vol. 31, pp. 113-191 (1888), "Ueber die secernirenden Zellen des Dünndarm-Epithels" ("About the secreting cells of the epithelium of the small intestine").  As suggested by the journal title Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, by the late 1800s microscopic anatomy had become a well-developed science. 

The caption for the image at right (accessed here, at the Biodiversity Heritage Library) reads:

Crypt of Lieberkühn of the mouse.  Fixation in picric acid, staining with saffranin according to Pfitzner.  Granule cells [i.e., Paneth cells] with granules of different sizes, those most plump and filled with the largest granules in the fundus; secreted mass confluent in the fundus of the crypt.
 
"Lieberkühn'sche Krypte der Maus.  Härtung in pikrinsäure, Färbung mit Saffranin nach Pfitzner.  Körnchenzellen mit verschieden grossen Körnchen, die am prallsten und mit den grössten körnchen gefüllten im Fundus; Secretmasse confluirt im Fundus der Krypte." 
The full plate [here] includes images of crypts from dog and human; the full article [here] includes as well extensive description and illustration of goblet cell secretion in a newt.

Online biographies of Paneth commonly highlight his relationships with Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietsche.

Brief bio at Wikipedia.

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Johann Conrad Peyer (1653-1712)

Commemorated in Peyer's patches of the small intestine.

Peyer was born and died in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, but studied medicine in Paris and in Basel.  He was a pupil of Johann Jacob Wepfer (1620-1695, founder of the "Schaffhouse School" of anatomy and physiology, in Schaffhausen); he worked with Webper and Johann Conrad von Brunner on gastrointestinal anatomy.

Peyer described the eponymous lymphoid patches as plexus glandularum (labelled B in the image at right) in his 1682 publication Exercitatio anatomico-medica de Glandulis intestinorum ("Anatomical-Medical Study of the Intestinal Glands"), available at the Munich DigitiZation Center.

See [here] for a fascinating essay on the 17th century "Schaffhouse School" of anatomy and physiology; Peyer is mentioned on p. 515.

The Anatomical and Physiological Approach in Swiss Medicine during the 17th Century, by Heinrich Buess, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, (Vol. 27, pp. 512-520, 1953), The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Listing of biographical details, here from Rice Univ.

Brief bio, from Wikipedia

More on Peyer's patches, from Wikipedia.

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Jan (or Johann) Evangelista Purkinje (1787-1869)

Bohemian anatomist, commemorated in Purkinje cells of cerebellum and Purkinje fibers of heart, also the Purkinje shift in color vision.

Purkinje earned his medical degree in Prague in 1818, where he then served for a few years as prosector in anatomy.  In 1823 he was appointed as Professor of Physiology and Pathology at the Royal Prussian University of Wroclaw (=Breslau, in what is now Poland), where he had to wait nine years to be granted his first microscope.  In 1850 he returned to Prague for a chair in Physiology of the Prague Medical Faculty.  During a time when Prussia (and the German language) dominated the areas now known as the Czech Republic and Poland, Purkinje promoted Czech independence as well as the Czech and Polish languages. 

Purkinje's research engaged with many areas of science, from heart function and brain anatomy to pharmacology (he tested drugs on himself, a not-uncommon practice at the time), optics, vision (his work on color perception caught the attention of poet/scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), and the classification of fingerprints.  He advanced the development of histological techniques; some sources attribute to Purkinje the development of the first practical microtome for use in tissue sectioning.  He elucidated the electrical system of the heart, describing the conducting fibers which bear his name.  In 1837, at a time before nervous tissue was well understood (long before Cajal had clarified the Neuron Doctrine, even before Cell Theory had become familiar), Purkinje described "ganglionic corpuscles" (i.e., nerve cell bodies) in many regions of the brain, including the cerebellar cortex where Purkinje cells form a distinctive layer:

Ueber die gangliösen Körperchen in verschiedenen Theilen des Gehirns ["On the ganglionic corpuscles in various parts of the brain"] (1837), Ber. Naturf. Prague, p. 137.

Biography from the Texas Heart Institute Journal, Feb. 2018, Vol. 45, No. 1

Biography in Advances in Physiological Education, with extensive description of Purkinje's research results in several areas.

Jan Voogd, The Purkinje Cell (Ch. 6, pp. 37-43, in Neurological Eponyms, P. J. Koehler et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2000), available through Google Books.  (Use the "search" function at GoogleBooks to find this chapter.)

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Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934):  See Cajal, above.

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Louis Antoine Ranvier (1835-1922)

French physician, pathologist, anatomist and histologist, commemorated in nodes of Ranvier

The image at right was taken from Ranvier's Traité technique d'histologie (1875), available at the Wellcome Collection.  This 820 page treatise provides an illustrated overview (in French) of histological knowledge in the second half of the nineteenth century.  (The node here is labelled "étranglement annulaire," or "annular constriction.")

Ranvier's research in many aspects of histology emphasized the radical (for his time) concept that histological study could elucidate organ physiology.  For example:

"[Ranvier's] description of nerve fibre nodes was made in a search for how nutrients were continuously exchanged with the blood for nerve cell function... Physiology had demonstrated a loss of motor nerve function by interruption of blood flow and a return to function by perfusion of oxygenated blood... The question was then clear to Ranvier:  what is the path for oxygen between oxygenated blood and nerve fibers?  For Ranvier, the continuous and impermeable myelin sheath of nerve fibres prevented exchange of fluids and thereby nutrition.  He demonstrated the point histologically showing that ... picrocarminate could penetrate fibres, at localized sites identified as interruptions of the myelin sheath..."

The above quote is taken from an excellent, illustrated overview of Ranvier's research by Jean Gaël Barbara, available here [from IBRO, the International Brain Research Organization].

Very brief summaries of Ranvier's career can be found here (from Wikipedia) and here (from Nature, 1935), but these provide very minimal information about Ranvier's research.
 

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Ernst Reissner (1824-1878) 

German anatomist, commemorated in Reissner's membrane (the vestibular membrane) of the cochlea.

Reporting in "Zur Kentniss der Schnecke im Gehörorgan der Säugethiere und des Menschen" [Toward understanding the cochlea in the auditory organs of mammals and humans], (Arch Anat Physiol Wiss Med (1854), pp 420-427), Reissner effectively discovered the endolymphatic passageway, now called the scala media or cochlear duct, by describing the eponymous membrane which separates it from the scala vestibuli.

For more on Reissner's membrane and additional eponymous structures associated with the inner ear, see J. Schacht & J.E. Hawkins, "A Cell by Any Other Name: Cochlear Eponyms" (Audiology & Neuro Otology 2004, vol. 9, pp. 317-327, DOI: 10.1159/000081311).

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Charles-Philippe Robin (1821-1885) 

French anatomist and biologist, commemorated in Virchow-Robin space (perivascular space in the brain, essentially extending subarachnoid space along blood vessels).

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

More extensive biography, at Whonamedit.com.

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Friedrich-Christian Rosenthal (1780-1829)

German surgeon and anatomist, commemorated in Rosenthal's canal (housing the spiral ganglion of the cochlea) and the basal vein of Rosenthal.

Pursuing various opportunities, Rosenthal relocated several times within Germany and Austria, eventually accepting a position as full professor and museum director at a university in Greifswald, the town of his birth and education.  Details of this life, including the several anatomists with whom he worked, are recounted (in German) in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie.  (This 1889 entry may be easily translated by cut-and-pasting into GoogleTranslate or DeepL.)

Rosenthal described the structure now known as Rosenthal's canal in a report on the structure of the modiolus in the human ear (Über den Bau der Spindel im menschlichen Ohr, 1823).  He described the vena basilaris Rosenthalii in a report on branches of the great vein of Galen (De intimis cerebri venis seu de venae magnae Galeni ramis, 1824).  This vein was given its eponymous designation by Joseph Hyrtl, in his 1846 "Textbook of human anatomy" (Lehrbuch der Anatomie des Menschen).  During his relatively short career, Rosenthal also published extensive works on the anatomy of whales, seals, and sea-lions.  But much of his work remained incomplete, interrupted by his untimely death from tuberculosis at age 49.

Additional resources for Rosenthal:

Brief biography from Hearing: Health and Technology Matters.

Very brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Charles Marie Benjamin Rouget (1824-1904)  

French physiologist, commemorated in Rouget cells, cells associated with capillaries that are now known as pericytes.

Rouget studied medicine at hospitals in Paris and became professor of physiology at the University of Montpellier and at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.  He reported the eponymous cells in 1874 in Note sur le developpement de la tunique contractile des vaisseaux (Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci., vol. 59, pp. 559-562). 

The history of pericyte research is briefly recounted in the introduction to Morphology and properties of pericytes by P. Dore-Duffy and K. Cleary, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 686, pp. 49-68 (2011).  [NOTE:  This link appears to open the wrong page, but scrolling down leads to the full text of the 2011 pericyte review.  The "proper" link for this review, doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60761-938-3_2, opens an abstract only.

(For a more thorough account of historical understanding of capillaries, see "The history of the capillary wall: doctors, discoveries, and debates," by C. Hwa and W.C. Aird, in Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 293: H2667-H2679 (2007), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00704.)

Additional resources:

 

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Angelo Ruffini (1864-1929)

Italian anatomist, commemorated in Ruffini corpuscles (Ruffini nerve endings).

"Among the microscopic structures that were isolated and described after the cell doctrine had been enunciated were specialized sensory cells, called receptors... Those located in well-defined sense organs were named on the basis of their morphology (rods, cones, hair cells, etc.), whereas the receptors in or beneath the surface of the skin were generally named after those who first described them (e.g., Golgi tendon organs, Krause end-bulbs, Meissner's corpuscles, Merkel discs, Pacinian corpuscles, and Ruffini cylinders)" [quote from "Receptor Visionaries," by Nicholas Wade, Perception, 47: 833-850 (2018)].

Selected publications by Ruffini:

  • A. Ruffini, "Di una particolare reticella nervosa e di alcuni corpuscoli del Pacini che si trovano in connessione cogli organi muscolo-tendinei del gatto" [Of a particular nervous net and some Pacini corpuscles that are found in connection with the muscle-tendon organs of the cat], Rendiconti. Classe di scienze fisiche, matematiche e naturali, 5th ser., vol. 7 no. 1, 442-446.
  • A. Ruffini, 1896. Sulla fine anatomia dei fusi neuro-muscuolare del gatto e sul loro significato fisiologico. Monitore Zoologico Italiano 7, 49-52.
  • A. Ruffini, 1898. On the minute anatomy of the neuromuscular spindles of the cat, and on their physiological significance. J. Physiol. 23, 191-208

Ruffini corpuscles at Wikipedia.

Very brief biography at Wikipedia.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons:
"Skull with meticulously separated arteries prepared by Frederich Schlemm. Displayed in the Center for Anatomy of Charite (University of Berlin)."

Friedrich Schlemm (1795-1858)

German anatomist, commemorated in the canal of Schlemm of the eye.

Schlemm advanced to full professor at the University of Berlin, earning fame for his superb dissection technique.  Some of his preparations have been preserved, such as that shown in the image at right.  His best-known published work is an 1830 desciption of the superficial arteries of the head, Arteriarum capitis superficialum icon nova.  (On the page opened by this link, look for "Download / PDF." Schlemm's illustrations at the end of this short monograph will reward the download.)

Schlemm's discovery of the eponymous canal is briefly described in "Eyeing the Eye" (an article by Nicole Davis, at The Jackson Laboratory, in Search Magazine, 19 Dec. 2014).  Unfortunately this article does not cite a source for the plausible story that Schlemm found the canal because it had become "engorged with blood" in the corpse of a man who had hanged himself.

A 2008 article in the Annals of Anatomy (Anatomischer Anzeiger) reports that in 1816 a much younger Schlemm had been sentenced to a month in prison, after being apprehended for disinterring the body of deceased woman.  "Body-snatching" was not unusual in the early nineteenth century, as a method for acquiring cadavers for medical dissection (in this case, for studying effects of rickets on bones at the Anatomico-Surgical Institute in Braunschweig).  (For more on "the resurrectionists," see Art macabre: Resurrectionists and anatomists, R. McGee, 2001, ANZ Journal of Surgery, vol. 71, pp.377-380.)

The entry for Schlemm at Wikipedia offers little more than a summary of the article cited above, from the German Annals of Anatomy.

An entry (in German) at Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie offers some additional but dated (1890) detail (this note can be easily cut-and-pasted into DeepL Translator or Google Translate).

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Theodor Schwann (1810-1882)

German physician, commemorated in Schwann cells, also celebrated as one of the founders of Cell Theory.

We owe the word "cell," as a name for ubiquitous biological structures, to the Englishman Robert Hooke.  But what Hooke had described in 1665 were merely small empty chambers (hence "cells") that he had observed in a thin slice of dry cork.  Generalizing the idea of "cell" as a basic living unit took the better part of two centuries, culminating in Schwann's 1839 book, Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen ["Microscopic Studies on the Correspondence in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants"].  This book is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. 

The profound realization that the bodies of all plants and animals are comprised of cells and cell products emerged slowly over the decades following Bichat's founding of the discipline of histology in 1802.  Textbook histories generally credit Mathias Jakob Schleiden (German botanist, 1804-1881) as well as Theodor Schwann as the originators of Cell Theory.  Schleiden, being a botanist, had the easier half of this generalization, since every plant cell is encased in a durable extracellular wall (i.e., those "cells" of Robert Hooke), with very little other extracellular material to distract the observer.  Animal cells, in contrast, not only come in a confusing variety of sizes and shapes but are also associated with considerable amounts of various extracellular materials such as collagen and ground substance.  (In fact, the word "cellular" ["cellulaire"] had already been used by Bichat, the Father of Histology, as a label for loose areolar connective tissue, most of which is extracellular.) 

It is Schwann who receives recognition for merging his own observations of animal cells with Schleiden's observations of plant cells, to arrive at the broad generalization that we now know as Cell Theory.  The unifying observation for Cell Theory was the presence of a "nucleus" (so named by botanist Robert Brown in 1831) within each cell of both plants and animals.

"In the course of his [Schwann's] verifications of the cell theory, in which he traversed the whole field of histology, he proved the cellular origin and development of the most highly differentiated tissues...  His generalization became the foundation of modern histology, and in the hands of Rudolph Virchow (whose cellular pathology was an inevitable deduction from Schwann) afforded the means of placing modern pathology on a truly scientific basis." [Quoted from The Encyclopedia Britannica's eleventh edition (1911; vol. 24, p. 388).  This classic 1911 edition is accessible through several online sources, including here, at Wikisource.]

Schwann recognized that his eponymous Schwann cells were intimately associated with nerve fibers (Ranvier added further clarification), but it awaited the advent of electron microscopy to reveal that myelin was actually composed of cell membrane of the Schwann cells themselves, wrapped around and around myelinated axons.

Additional information:

On Theodor Schwann
    [More, from Wikipedia]
    [More, from Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science]
    [More, from Britannica]

On Cell Theory:
    [More, from Wikipedia]
    [More, from Britannica] 

The full text of Mikroskopische Untersuchungen, with plates of Schwann's drawings, is available at The Wellcome Collection.

A fascinating account of observations over several decades that led up to and beyond Schwann's understanding of Schwann cells can be found in:

Axel Karenberg, Schwann Cells (Ch. 7, pp. 44-50, in Neurological Eponyms, P. J. Koehler et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2000), available through Google Books here (enter "Schwann" in the "Search inside" window).

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Enrico Sertoli (1842-1910)

Italian histologist and physiologist, commemorated in Sertoli cells (support cells of the testis).

For much of his career, Sertoli was professor of anatomy and physiology at the Advanced Royal School of Veterinary Medicine in Milan, where he founded the Laboratory of Experimental Physiology.

The eponymous cells were described in Dell'esistenza di particolari cellule ramificate nei canalicoli seminiferi del testicolo umano (About the existence of special branched cells in the seminiferous tubules of the human testis), Morgagni (1865), vol. 7, pp. 31-33.

Sertoli pursued further investigation into testicular histology, during an era when understanding the formation of reproductive cells was of central importance in biology. In Sulla struttura dei canalicoli seminiferi dei testicoli studiata in rapporto allo sviluppo dei nemaspermi (The structure of seminiferous tubules and the development of sperm), Archivio per le scienze mediche (1878), he concluded (correctly, in opposition to von Ebner) that sperm cells derived from spermatogonia rather than from Sertoli cells, which provide support.

A nice historical study of the differing interpretations of von Ebner and Sertoli may be found in the following two papers, which include detailed annotations of the original reports:

Jones SL, Harris K, Geyer CB. A new translation and reader's guide to Victor von Ebner's classical description of spermatogenesisMol. Reprod. Dev. 2019; 86:1462-1484.  https://doi.org/10.1002/mrd.232821484.

Geyer, C. B. (2018). A historical perspective on some "new" discoveries on spermatogenesis from the laboratory of Enrico Sertoli in 1878. Biology of Reproduction, 99(3), 479-481.  https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/iox125.

Additional resources:

 

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Alexander Skene (1837-1900)   incomplete

Scottish gynecologist, commemorated in Skene's glands in the female genital-urinary tract.

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

 

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Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow (1821-1902)

German pathologist and politician, commemorated in Virchow-Robin space (perivascular space in the brain, essentially extending subarachnoid space along blood vessels).  Virchow is widely acknowledged as the "father of modern pathology." 

It was Virchow who popularized the dictum, "omnis cellula e cellula":  all cells come from cells.  Furthermore, all diseases result from disorders in cellular function.   These premises were advocated by Virchow in the middle of the nineteenth century, soon after establishment of Cell Theory

"Life itself is but the expression of a sum of phenomena, each of which follows the ordinary physical and chemical laws. ... Disease is not something personal and special, but only a manifestation of life under modified conditions, operating according to the same laws as apply to the living body at all times, from the first moment until death." (This quotation is attributed to Virchow on many webpages, but typically without crediting an original source.)

The following text is excerpted, with ellipses and other light editing, from the 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 28.  [This classic 1911 edition is accessible through several online sources, including here, at Wikisource.]

"[Virchow] took his doctor's degree in 1843, and almost immediately received an appointment as assistant-surgeon at the Charité Hospital... In 1847 he founded with Reinhardt the Archiv für pathologische Anatomie [later known as Virchow's Archive]... In 1848 he went as a member of a government commission to investigate an outbreak of typhus in upper Silesia.  About the same time, having shown too open sympathy with the revolutionary or reforming tendencies of 1848, he was for political reasons obliged to leave Berlin... In 1856 he was recalled to Berlin..., and as director of the Pathological Institute formed a centre for research whence has flowed a constant stream of original work on the nature and processes of disease.

"Wide as were Virchow's studies, and successful as he was in all, yet the foremost place must be given to his achievements in pathological investigation.  He may, in fact, be called the father of modern pathology, for his view, that every animal is constituted by a sum of vital units, each of which manifests the characteristics of life, has almost uniformly dominated the theory of disease since the middle of the 19th century, when it was enunciated...

"Virchow made many important contributions to histology and morbid anatomy and to the study of particular diseases.  The [tissue-based] classification into epithelial organs, connective tissues, and the more specialized muscle and nerve, was largely due to him... [emphasis added; c.f., Bichat]

"Another science which Virchow cultivated with conspicuous success was anthropology, which he did much to put on a sound critical basis.  At the meeting of the Naturforscherversammlung at Innsbruck in 1869, he was one of the founders of the German Anthropological Society... His archaeological work included the investigation of lake dwellings and other prehistoric structures; he went with Schliemann to Troy in 1879, ... and in 1888 he accompanied Schliemann to Egypt...

"As a politician Virchow had an active career. ...[T]he expression Kulturkampf ["culture struggle"] had, it is believed, its origin in one of his electoral manifestoes... As a member of [Berlin's] municipal council [Virchow] was largely responsible for the transformation which came over the city in the last thirty years of the 19th century.  That it has become one of the healthiest cities in the world from being one of the unhealthiest is attributable in great measure to his insistence on the necessity of sanitary reform, and it was his unceasing efforts that secured for its inhabitants the drainage system, the sewage farms and the good water-supply, the benefits of which are reflected in the decreased death-rale they now enjoy...

"[Virchow's] eightieth birthday was celebrated in Berlin amid a brilliant gathering of men of science, part of the ceremonies taking place in the new Pathological Museum, ... which owes its existence mainly to his energy and powers of organization.  On that occasion all Europe united to do him honour..."

Virchow's efforts to advance a scientific approach to medicine are eloquently described in a hagiographic essay published during his lifetime, in The Popular Science Monthly, Oct. 1882, pp. 836-842.  This essay should be available at Google Books, here.

The Virchow entry at Wikipedia is quite extensive and includes an account of Virchow's opposition to Darwinism.

The interested reader is additionally directed to the text of a dramatic monologue (presented by Ed "The Pathguy" Friedlander, M.D., to a meeting of the Group for Resesarch in Pathology Education), which ably presents Virchow's life and times.  This monologue includes numerous direct quotations from the historical Dr. Virchow, as well as a list of print resources.

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Anton Gilbert Victor von Ebner (1842-1925)

Austrian histologist, commemorated in von Ebner's glands.
Tissues of tongue from Die acinösen Drüsen der Zunge, 1873, showing von Ebner's glands beneath a circumvallate papilla.

The eponymous salivary glands of the tongue are described in Die acinösen Drüsen der Zunge und ihre Beziehungen zu den Geschmacksorganen: eine anatomische Untersuchung [The acinar glands of the tongue and their relations to the organs of taste: an anatomical study], University of Graz, 1873.

Von Ebner received his medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1866.  He became professor of histology at the University of Graz, later at the University of Vienna.  He edited the third volume of the sixth edition (1899) of Kölliker's Handbuch der Gewebelehre des Menschen (Manual of human histology).

In a paper which he submitted in 1871 in consideration of promotion and tenure, von Ebner made substantial contribution to understanding spermiogenesis.  This paper, Untersuchungen über den Bau der Samencanälchen und die Entwicklung der Spermatozoiden [Studies of the Structure of the Seminiferous Tubules and the Development of Sperm], appeared at a time when understanding the formation of reproductive cells was of central importance in biology.  Although von Ebner wound up on the wrong side of history by interpreting Sertoli cells as the source of spermatozoa, his work was impressively detailed and accurate given technical limitations of his era.

A nice historical study of the differing interpretations of von Ebner and Sertoli may be found in the following two papers, which include detailed annotations of the original reports:

Jones SL, Harris K, Geyer CB. A new translation and reader's guide to Victor von Ebner's classical description of spermatogenesisMol Reprod Dev. 2019; 86:1462-1484.  https://doi.org/10.1002/mrd.232821484.

Geyer, C. B. (2018). A historical perspective on some "new" discoveries on spermatogenesis from the laboratory of Enrico Sertoli in 1878. Biology of Reproduction, 99(3), 479-481.  https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/iox125.

Wikipedia offers a very brief biography, with a list of publications.

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Image from Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London (1850):
"Fig. 3. Disorganized muscular nerve, from the inferior surface of the tongue, five days after section."

Augustus Volney Waller (1816-1870)

English physician, commemorated in Wallerian (or anterograde) degeneration, whereby nerve fibers begin to fall apart after separation from their cell bodies.  This response proved invaluable over subsequent decades for mapping neural pathways, in the discipline founded by Waller that became known as experimental neurology.

After earning his medical degree in Paris, Waller acquired his British medical license in 1840 and established a general practice in Kensington.  In 1851 he left England to pursue research in Bonn, subsequently continuing his research in Paris.

The following excerpts are from the Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), at Wikisource:

"Waller was endowed with a remarkable aptitude for original investigation.  Quick to perceive new and promising lines of research, and happy in devising processes for following them out, he possessed consummate skill ... in experimental work.  His discoveries in connection with the nervous system constitute his most conspicuous claim to distinction, and the fields he first traversed have proved fruitful beyond imagination, for they have led directly to nearly all that we know experimentally of the functions of the nervous system.

"His ... name will long be associated with the degeneration method of studying the paths of nerve impulses, for he invented it.  He did not confine himself to a consideration of the nervous system, however, for he practically rediscovered the power which the white blood corpuscles possess of escaping from the smallest blood-vessels..."

Image from Philosophical Magazine (1846):
"Fig.1... vessels of the inferior surface of the tongue as they appear after the escape of the corpuscles...  A portion of a vessel with an internal current is likewise seen with discs, and internal and external corpuscles..."

Waller's account of the extravasation of white blood cells (illustration at right) was published in 1846:  "Microscopic Observations on the Perforation of the Capillaries by the Corpuscles of the Blood and on the origin of mucus and pus globules, Philosophical Magazine vol. 29, pp. 397-405.  This report came just a few years after establishment of Cell Theory by Schwann, well before the nature of capillaries had become thoroughly understood.

(For a more thorough account of historical understanding of capillaries, see "The history of the capillary wall: doctors, discoveries, and debates," by C. Hwa and W.C. Aird, in Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 293: H2667-H2679 (2007), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00704; also see " Completing the puzzle of blood circulation: the discovery of capillaries," from ResearchGate.)

Waller's description of the eponymous process of axonal degeneration, which acknowledged relevant prior observations by others, was read into the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (vol. 140:, pp. 423-429) in 1850, before he moved abroad in search of improved research opportunities.  The illustration here (above right) was taken from this report, "Experiments on the section of the glossopharyngeal and hypoglossal nerves of the frog, and observations of the alterations produced thereby in the structure of their primitive fibres."

Additional notes

The entry for Waller at Whonamedit.com includes an incomplete but extensive bibliography.

According to both Wikipedia and Whonamedit.com, Waller's son, Augustus Desiré Waller, developed the first practical apparatus, using surface electrodes, for electrocardiography.  (The Wikipedia entry for Waller himself largely reproduces the old entry in the Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), cited above.)
 

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James Homer Wright (1869-1900)   incomplete

American pathologist, commemorated in Wright's stain for blood smears.

Wright identified megakaryocytes as the source for blood platelets.

Brief biography at Wikipedia.

More extensive biography in the American Journal of Surgical Pathology, (2002) 26:88-96;  doi: 10.1097/00000478-200201000-00011.

 

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Chronological index by birth-year      (Alphabetical index)

Boldface highlights entries which are especially noteworthy in the history of histology. 
Italics indicates entries who are not eponyms but are included for their historical relevance to histology.

1578  Harvey
1616  Bartholin
1628  Malpighi
1632  Leeuwenhoek
1635  Hooke
1638  Kerckring
1641  de Graaf
1643  Bellini
1653  Brunner
1653  Peyer
1657  Havers
1666  Cowper
1711  Lieberkühn
1712  Bertin
1732  Descemet
1771  Bichat
1781  Howship
 ???   Bergmann
1787  Mayer
1787  Purkinje
1790  Rosenthal
1795  Schlemm
1809  Henle
1810  Schwann
1812  Pacini
1824  Rouget
1828  Auerbach
1816  Bowman
1816  Waller
1817  Hassall
1817  Kölliker
1819  Langer
1821  Robin
1821  Virchow
1821  Leydig
1822  Claudius
1822  Corti
1824  Reissner
1829  Kupffer
1829  Meissner
1831  Boettcher
1833  Krause
1834  Betz
1834  Deiters
1835  Ranvier
1835  Hensen
1837  Skene
1842  Sertoli
1842  von Ebner
1843  Golgi
1845  Merkel
1847  Langerhans
1847  Nuel
1852  Ramón y Cajal
1852  Disse
1856  Freud
1857  Paneth
1860  Nissl
1864  Ruffini
1866  Held
1866  Köhler
1868  Brodmann
1869  Wright
1890  Goormaghtigh
1904  Ito

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Last updated:  4 November 2022 / dgk