Addison's disease historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]


Addison's disease is named after Dr. Thomas Addison, a British physician who first described the condition in his paper "On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules" in 1855.[1][2]

Historical perspective

  • In 1563, Bartholomeus Eustachius, an anatomy professor at the Collegio della Sapienza in Rome was the first to give a description of the adrenal glands in his publication "glandulae renibus incumbentes".
  • In 1586, Piccolomini was the first to name the glands as suprarenals.
  • In 1651, Highmore was the first to suggest that the suprarenals act to absorb exudates from the large vessels.
  • In 1656, Thomas Wharton was the first to describe the concept of the neuroendocrine function of the adrenal medulla.
  • In 1805, Cuvier was the first to give a detailed description of medulla and cortex of adrenal glands.
  • In 1852, Albert von Kölliker was the first to give a detailed microscopic description of the adrenal glands.
  • In 1855, Thomas Addison was the first to identify and name Addison's disease in his paper "On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules".
  • In 1856, Charles Brown-Séquard provided experimental proof of the vital role of the adrenals by performing adrenalectomies (the removal of adrenals) from several animal species.


  1. Thomas Addison. On The Constitutional And Local Effects Of Disease Of The Supra-Renal Capsules (HTML reprint). London: Samuel Highley.
  2. Ten S, New M, Maclaren N (2001). "Clinical review 130: Addison's disease 2001". J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 86 (7): 2909–22. PMID 11443143.