The Sympathoadrenomedullary Response to Critical Illness

  • Otto Kuchel
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE, volume 4)


Any illness, particularly a critical one, is a major threat to the integrity of the human organism and endangers its survival. Approximately a century ago, Claude Bernard theorized that the “milieu interne” must be maintained to preserve life. At about the same time, Walter Cannon introduced the term homeostasis to characterize “the coordinated physiological reactions that maintain the steady state of body” via the integrated cooperative activity of a wide range of organs (1). He was the first to recognize that physical and emotional disturbances could elicit sympathoadrenomedullary responses, which are typical of physiological change seen in preparation for “fight or flight.” He also demonstrated that physical and emotional upsets trigger the same responses and that there are limits to the ability to compensate. The cardiovascular, renal, visceral, cutaneous, pulmonary, and metabolic components of these responses may have survival value in preparing the body for action. However, their biochemistry remained unknown even though adrenaline was already discovered through the pioneering work of Abel and Loewi.


Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Adrenal Medulla Plasma Catecholamine Atrial Natriuretic Factor Catecholamine Release 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

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  • Otto Kuchel

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