Ekkehard Kallee

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Ekkehard Kallee (born 30 January 1922, Feuerbach - 11 December 2012, Tübingen) was a German university professor and doctor for nuclear medicine.


Ekkehard Kallee attended from 1932 the Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium in Stuttgart, where he learned Latin and Ancient Greek but comparatively few natural sciences. During World War II he was from 1940 to 1945 a paramedic and subsequently held in custody in a French prisoner-of-war camp in Bad Niedernau for half a year. He studied medicine and graduated in 1950 at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and joined the student fraternity Tübinger Königsgesellschaft Roigel only at a very late stage. He wrote his doctoral thesis from 1947 to 1950 at Carl Martius and Adolf Butenandt about Experiments on the chemical synthesis of an organophosphate of citric acid (Versuche zur Darstellung eines Phosphorsäure-Esters der Citronensäure). The experiments themselves did not have positive results, but Ekkehard Kallee made very interesting observations, with which he could contradict the earlier conclusions of two chemists by acribic efforts.

He married the pedagogue and later social pedagogue Barbara Kallee, née Weigmann, in 1965 and had with her one son, Stephan Kallee. In his spare time he maintained two Suabian meadow orchards in Ammerbuch, and arranged regularly an annual hiking tour with his dental medicine students to these. As a consequence, his brandies and liquors, which were branded with the Latin slogan ex hortis manibusque Kallee (from Kallee's gardens and hands) became well known within the student community.

As a university professor and doctor for nuclear medicine, he was Head of the Radionuclide Laboratory of the University Hospital for Internal Medicine in Tübingen, until he became an emeritus in 1987. He was a Member of the European Thyroid Association, the German Association for Endocrinology and the German Association for Internal Medicine.

Education, research and public obligation[edit]

His scientific work – from the time of his doctorate until more than 20 years after becoming an emeritus – was based on the understanding of the reversibility of adsorption processes, as postulated by Irving Langmuir in his sorption isotherm. Ekkehard Kallee was the first to prove the existence of adsorption distribution levels with this.

By understanding the adsorption processes, he succeeded in detecting protein traces by paper electrophoresis of radioactive-iodine-marked insulin. This was, at that time, a breakthrough by several orders of magnitude for the analytical clinical chemistry. Eventually, it was the base for all later immunological detection procedures for various active ingredients.

He published already in 1954 two German articles about the detection method with 131I-marked insulin.[1][2] By taking autoradiographs of capillary electrophoresis strips he could detect down to 10−9 gram 131I-marked insulin. He examined serums of humans, rats and guinea pigs and noted that these varied in their capability, to reduce the specific adsorption of veal insulin in filtration paper. Human serums were better suited for the specific insulin detection method than rat or guinea pig serums at the time, because they showed the characteristic 131I-marked insulin bands only, when non-radioactive carrier-insulin was added. In this field of research one half of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to Rosalyn Sussman Yalow in 1977 for the development of radioimmunological methods for the detection of peptide hormones.[3][4][5] She collaborated over 22 years in a scientific partnership with Solomon Aaron Berson, who would have shared the Nobel Prize with her and Ekkeard Kallee, if he had survived until the prize giving ceremony.[6][7]

Ekkehard Kallee determined from 1952 to 1959 the principles of the reversibility of protein adsorption together with his colleagues G. Seybold,[8] J. Wollensak,[9] W. Oppermann[10] and H. Ott[11] by conducting experiments on die adsorption of serum proteins. The research team's idea about the passive transport of protein-bound substances was triggered by the medical examination of patients with disorders caused by a lack of albumin.

One of Ekkehard Kallee's key research topics was the analbuminaemia, a rarely occurring genetic disorder, of which only 50 cases have been published worldwide.[12] Ekkehard Kallee examined two Suebian siblings with analbuminaemia over a period of 38 years.[13] These are globally the first two patients, for whom this illness has been diagnosed and published.[14][15] The female analbuminaemia patient was treated with a substitution therapy mit human serum albumin. Laboratory analysis before and after the infusion of large amounts of albumin gave a hint about a mechanism, by which albumin-bound substances were transported passively in the blood within the circulatory system into the extracellular fluid volume and the other way round. She developed in the fourth decade of her life an extreme lipodystrophy. She had a juvenile osteoporosis, which could be normalised by the albumin substitution. She died at the age of 69 years from cancer. Her brother didn't ever get any albumin, although his serum contained only 60 µg/ml of an albumin-like protein. He suffered from an extreme osteoporosis and died at the age of 59 years from colorectal cancer. Although both patients had high cholesterol values and a high number of blood clotting factors, they did not have any disadvantages by that.

Generally, most of Ekkehard Kallee's research projects were based on the interaction with patients. This is particularly relevant for the diagnosis and therapy of thyroid illnesses as one of the first doctors of nuclear medicine in Germany. Long before the Chernobyl disaster he assessed the risks and benefits of iodine prophylaxis at nuclear power plant disasters.[16] After the disaster, he examined food from the regions affected by the nuclear fallout and developed a method on decontaminating radioactively contaminated meet – especially rendeer and deer meet – by curing.[17]


Ekkehard Kallee was from an academic family in Württemberg: His father Albert Kallee was director of the Landgericht Stuttgart and expert for employment law.[18] His grandfather Richard Kallee was Lutheran parish priest in Feuerbach and as a local historian discovered 102 alamannic sandstone cists in Feuerbach and documented 760 archaeological finds.[19] The Kalleestraße in Stuttgart-Feuerbach is named after him. His great-grandfather, General Eduard von Kallee was probably an illegitimate son of King William I of Württemberg and devoted himself after an unusually steep military and diplomatic career to literary, artistic and archaeological studies, during which discovered several Roman sites along the Limes Germanicus.



  1. ^ Ekkehard Kallee: Über 131J-signiertes Insulin, I. Mitteilung. (Nachweis). Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B, volume 7, 1952, page 661. Cited in B A Burrows, T Peters & F C Lowell: Physical Binding of insulin by gamma globulins of insulin-resistant subjects. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1957 March; 36(3): 393–397.
  2. ^ Ekkehard Kallee: Über 131J-signiertes Insulin, II. Anwendungsbereich und Grenzen der Nachweismethode, In: Klinische Wochenschrift, 1954, 32, 508-509. doi:10.1007/BF01467093
  3. ^ Prof. Dr. Richard Wahl: Nachruf auf Professor Ekkehard Kallee, ein Pionier in seinem Fach. Endokrinologie Informationen, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie, 37. Jahrgang (2013), Heft 1, Seite 11-12.
  4. ^ Richard Wahl: Pionier der Insulin- und der Schilddrüsenerforschung - Zum Tode von Professor Dr. Ekkehard Kallee ein Nachruf. Newsletter Uni Tübingen aktuell Nr. 1/2013 – 26. April 2013.
  5. ^ Rolf Luft: Award Ceremony Speech, From Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1971-1980, Editor Jan Lindsten, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.
  6. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1977, Official Website of the Nobel Prize.
  7. ^ Anamnese des Radioimmunassays. Eine historische Reminiszenz, Münchener medizinische Wochenschrift, 1984 Jan 27; 126(4): 97-101.
  8. ^ A. D'Addabbo, G. Seybold und E. Kallee: Der Einfluß von Hydrochlorothiazid auf die Insulinwirkung und den Abbau von 131J-Insulin beim Kaninchen, Zeitschrift für die gesamte experimentelle Medizin, Research in Experimental Medicine, volume 138, number 2, 105-115.
  9. ^ J. Wollensak, E. Kallee und G. Seybold: Farbstoffbindungsstudien an Mitochondrien. In: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B, volume 10, 1955, pages 582–587. doi:10.1515/znb-1955-1006
  10. ^ E. Kallee, F. Lohss and W. Oppermann: Trichloressigsäure-Aceton-Extraktion von Albuminen aus Seren und Antigen-Antikorper-Präzipitaten. In: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B, volume 12, 1957, pages 777–783.
  11. ^ Hans Ott and Ekkehard Kallee: Azorubinverdrängung von Serumalbumin, Kolloide Zeitschrift, Colloid & Polymer Science, volume 127, number 1, pages 40-41. doi:10.1007/BF01526301
  12. ^ Register of Analbuminemia Cases, The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital Research Institute, Cooperstown, NY.
  13. ^ Bennhold's analbuminemia: A follow-up study of the first two cases (1953–1992), The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, volume 127, issue 5, pages 470-480 (May 1996).
  14. ^ ’’H. Bennhold, H. Peters & E. Roth: Über einen Fall von kompletter Analbuminaemie ohne wesentliche klinische Krankheitszeichen, Verh. Dtsch. Ges. Inn. Med. 60, 1954, 630-634.
  15. ^ Mary S. Ruhoff, Michael W. Greene, Theodore Peters: Location of the mutation site in the first two reported cases of analbuminemia. In: Clinical Biochemistry. 43, 2010, page 525–527, doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2009.12.002.
  16. ^ Ekkehard Kallee: Nutzen und Risiko der Jodprophylaxe bei Kernreaktorunfällen, Der Internist, May 1981; 22(5): 304-7.
  17. ^ R. Wahl, E. Kallee: Decontamination puts meat in a pickle. In: Nature, volume 323, Number 6085, 18–24 September 1986, page 208, ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/323208b0. PMID 3762671.
  18. ^ G. W.: Ein liebenswerter Menschner Jurist – Verabschiedung von Landgerichtsdirektor Dr. Kallee. In: Heilbronner Stimme. Saturday 12 May 1951.
  19. ^ Heinz Krämer: Fertig Feuerbach! Richard Kallee, Pfarrer und Geschichtsforscher, DRW Verlag, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 2004, ISBN 3-87181-016-9.