John Jacob Abel isolated epinephrine, amino acids from the blood

John Jacob Abel - Father of American pharmacology

Article on John Jacob Abel

Biography & contributions

John Jacob Abel was an American biochemist and pharmacologist born on May 19, 1857 – died on May 26, 1938. Jacob Abel was made important contributions to a modern understanding of the ductless or endocrine glands. He is considered as Father of American pharmacology.

Abel was the first to isolate a blood pressure raising substance from bovine adrenal glands (1897) which substance he called "epinephrin." At the age of 68, he became the first person to crystallize insulin (1925). He also invented a primitive artificial kidney and isolated epinephrine, amino acids from the blood.

Amino acids

Twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein. Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. Amino acids have an influence on the function of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. They are furthermore essential for healing wounds and repairing tissue, especially in the muscles, bones, skin and hair as well as for the removal of all kinds of waste deposits produced in connection with the metabolism.

The 20 amino acids that are found within proteins convey a vast array of chemical versatility. The precise amino acid content, and the sequence of those amino acids, of a specific protein, is determined by the sequence of the bases in the gene that encodes that protein. The chemical properties of the amino acids of proteins determine the biological activity of the protein. Proteins not only catalyze all (or most) of the reactions in living cells, they control virtually all cellular process. In addition, proteins contain within their amino acid sequences the necessary information to determine how that protein will fold into a three dimensional structure, and the stability of the resulting structure.

The 10 amino acids that we can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids are arginine (required for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These amino acids are required in the diet.

Alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid are categorized under non-essential amino acids and these are synthesized by human body.

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