Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



The adrenal glands, located in man near the superior poles of the kidneys. were described by Eustachius in 1563, and named by him the glandulae renibus incumbentes. It was not, however, generally appreciated until about three centuries later that they were vital organs. In 1855, Thomas Addison of Guy's Hospital, London, first described a syndrome which he observed in certain of his patients, and which he associated with bilateral lesions of the adrenal glands. In recognition of his early description, the disease has since been named "Addison's disease". Patients suffering from Addison's disease showed a high degree of morbidity and mortality. Though the symptoms varied somewhat with the extent of adrenal damage, certain observations were consistently made at that time, and later. These observations included progressive muscular weakness, hyponatremia, hypovolemia, hemoconcentration, hypotension and microcardia. Although it was not clearly appreciated at that time, the high morbidity and mortality of such patients were later to be, at least in part, associated with negative sodium chloride balance.

Document Type




Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Sidney Solomon

Second Committee Member

M. L. Ofildeiel

Third Committee Member

Leroy C. M. Laren

Fourth Committee Member

D. T. Trager