- n. United States pharmacologist (born in Germany) who was the first to show that acetylcholine is produced at the junction between a parasympathetic nerve and a muscle (1873-1961)
“Hitherto the conception of chemical transmission at nerve endings and neuronal synapses, originating in Loewi's discovery, and with the extension that the work of my colleagues has been able to give to it, can claim one practical result, in the specific, though alas only short, alleviation of the condition of myasthenia gravis, by eserine and its synthetic analogues.”
“Twarog, unlike Pavlov, had the benefit of a discovery made in 1921 by a German scientist, Otto Loewi.”
“Loewi wondered exactly how nerves signaled muscles—in particular, whether the process was purely electrical or somehow mediated by chemicals.”
“Dissected hearts in saline will continue to beat, and Loewi had left intact the nerves that control the pulse rate—the vagus nerve, which slows it, and the accelerator nerve, which does what you think it does.”
“When that heart slowed without any electrical stimulation, Loewi concluded that a chemical released from the vagus nerve and into the saline, and not electricity, had slowed down the heart.”
“Loewi named the substance released by the relevant nerve, called the vagus nerve, Vagusstoff; today it is known as the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.”
“Loewi bathed a frog's heart in saline solution and stimulated the nerve that normally slows the heartbeat.”
“If the slowing of the heart was caused by a chemical agent rather than an electrical impulse, Loewi reasoned, then the transmitting chemical would disperse throughout the solution.”
“Loewi tested his hypothesis by placing a second heart in the solution.”
“Dale & Loewi (1936) chemical transmission of the nerve impulses”
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