Saturday, May 12, 2012

Discovery of cholesterol

The name of cholesterol is from Greek ‘chole’ for bile and ‘steros’ for solid.

The discovery do cholesterol dates back to the 18th century when Vallisueri in 1733 obtained crystals from an alcoholic solution of gallstone. It was the first time cholesterol was described.

French physician-chemist Francois Poulletier was the first to obtain pure cholesterol from gallstone.

Chevreul in 1815 showed that these crystals were not altered by saponification as other alcohol-soluble/water insoluble biological materials were. He named the substance as ‘cholesterine’.

In 1838 Lecanu showed that it was present in human blood, and in 1843 Vogel showed that it was present in atherosclerotic plaques.

The exact empirical formula of cholesterol was accurately established in 1888 by Austrian botanist Friedrich Reinitzer, who worked at the Imperial Institute for Plant Physiology at the German University in Prague.

Systematic study of the chemistry of cholesterol and inertest in metabolism of cholesterol began the end of the nineteenth century.

The mechanism of creating and breaking down cholesterol in the body was discovered only in 1985 by Brown and Goldstein, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine for that.
Discovery of cholesterol
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