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Johann Conrad Brunner

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Johann Conrad Brunner
Portrait of Johann Conrad Brunner
Born(1653-01-16)16 January 1653
Died2 October 1727(1727-10-02) (aged 74)
EducationSchaffhausen, Strasbourg and Paris
Medical career

Johann Conrad Brunner (16 January 1653 – 2 October 1727) was a Swiss anatomist, especially cited for his work on the pancreas and duodenum.[1]


Brunner was born in Diessenhofen,[2] and studied medicine in Schaffhausen, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, London and Paris. At Schaffhausen he studied under Johann Jakob Wepfer (1620–1695), who was also his father-in-law. He received his doctorate in 1672 from the University of Strasbourg.[2] Beginning in 1686 he was a professor of anatomy and physiology at the University of Heidelberg.[2] In 1716, Brunner was appointed personal physician to Charles III Philip the new Elector of the Palatinate.[2] He received many accolades during his life including a knighthood with the title "Brunn von Hammerstein".[2] He died in 1727 in Mannheim, Germany.[1]


Brunner is remembered for his experiments and studies of the pancreas and the internal secretions associated with that organ. In 1683 he removed the pancreas from a dog and noticed that the animal experienced extreme thirst and polyuria. Despite his intuitive grasp of the connection between the pancreas and diabetes, he was unable to provide a theoretical link for the role of the pancreas in that disease. He published his findings on pancreatic research in a treatise titled Experimenta Nova circa Pancreas. Accedit diatribe de lympha & genuino pancreatis usu.

in 1687 he described tubuloalveolar glands in the submucous layer of the duodenum, which were later named Brunner's glands. Two disorders associated with these glands are:

  • "Brunner's gland hyperplasia": Hypertrophy of Brunner's glands in the submucosal layer of the duodenum.
  • "Brunner's gland adenoma": Polyp-like tumours arising from Brunner's glands.

Written works[edit]

  • Poetum monstrosum et bicipitem, Diss. med. Strassburg 1672
  • De glandulis in duodeno intestino detectis, Heidelberg 1687
  • Experimenta nova circa pancreas; accedit diatriba de lympha et genuina pancreatis usu, Amsterdam 1682, nov ed.: Leyden 1722


  1. ^ a b Smith, Benjamin Eli, ed. (1918). "Brunner, Johann Conrad". The Century Cyclopedia of Names. (The Century Dictionary Volume IX). New York: The Century Company. p. 189.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hirsch, Aug. (1876). "Brunner, Joh. Konrad B.". Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Vol. 3. p. 447.