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Cori, Carl Ferdinand

glucose gerty hormones nobel

[ko ree] (1896–1984) and Cori, Gerty (Theresa) (1896–1957) Czech–US biochemists.

Cori graduated in medicine in Prague in 1920 and in the same year married his classmate Gerty Radnitz (1896–1957). They formed a close team until her death (their research collaboration had begun as students and their contributions are practically inseparable), moving to the USA in 1922 and sharing a Nobel Prize in 1947, the only other husband and wife pairs to do so being the in 1903 and the in 1935. Gerty Cori became the first woman medical graduate to receive a Nobel Prize.

Their best-known joint research concerned the conversion of glucose to glycogen in the animal body and the reverse breakdown.Had shown in 1850 that glycogen forms an energy reserve held in the liver and muscles, which is converted to the simpler sugar, glucose, when needed. The Coris discovered the precise steps involved in this essential biochemical process and revealed the part played by sugar phosphates for the first time. They showed in 1936 that a key intermediate is glucose-1-phosphate (‘Cori ester’).

A continuing aspect of their work was the effect of hormones, especially insulin, adrenalin and the pituitary hormones, on glucose metabolism: studies obviously related to diabetic disease.

The Coris shared the Nobel Prize with B A Houssay (1887–1971), an Argentinian physiologist in Buenos Aires who showed that one of the hormones of the pituitary gland opposed the action of insulin (which is formed in the pancreas). Thereafter it was realized that the endocrine glands interact through a complex of feedback mechanisms, still only partly understood.

Cornforth, Sir John (Warcup) [next] [back] Corey: For the People

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