Ulf von Euler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ulf von Euler
Ulf Svante von Euler-Chelpin

7 February 1905
Died9 March 1983 (aged 78)
Stockholm, Sweden
Alma materKarolinska Institutet
Known for
Jane Sodenstierna
(m. 1930; div. 1957)
(m. 1958)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysiologist, Pharmacologist
InstitutionsKarolinska Institutet
Academic advisors

Ulf Svante von Euler[2]ForMemRS[1] (7 February 1905 – 9 March 1983) was a Swedish physiologist and pharmacologist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1970 for his work on neurotransmitters.[3][4][5][6][7]


Ulf Svante von Euler-Chelpin was born in Stockholm, the son of two noted scientists, Hans von Euler-Chelpin, a professor of chemistry, and Astrid Cleve, a professor of botany and geology. [8] His father was German and the recipient of Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1929, and his maternal grandfather was Per Teodor Cleve, Professor of Chemistry at the Uppsala University, and the discoverer of the chemical elements thulium and holmium. Von Euler-Chelpin studied medicine at the Karolinska Institute in 1922. At Karolinska, he worked under Robin Fåhraeus in blood sedimentation and rheology and did research work on the pathophysiology of vasoconstriction. He presented his doctoral thesis in 1930, and was appointed as assistant professor in pharmacology in the same year, with the support of G. Liljestrand. From 1930 to 1931, von Euler-Chelpin got a Rochester Fellowship to do his post-doctoral studies abroad. He studied in England with Sir Henry Dale in London and with I. de Burgh Daly in Birmingham, and then proceeded to the continent, studying with Corneille Heymans in Ghent, Belgium and with Gustav Embden in Frankfurt, Germany. Von Euler liked to travel, so he also worked and learned biophysics with Archibald Vivian Hill, again in London in 1934, and neuromuscular transmission with G. L. Brown in 1938. From 1946 to 1947, he worked with Eduardo Braun-Menéndez in the Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental in Buenos Aires, which was founded by Bernardo Houssay. His unerring instinct to work with important scientific leaders and fields was to be proved by the fact that Dale, Heymans, Hill and Houssay went to receive the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.

In 1981, von Euler became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.[9]

From 1930 to 1957, von Euler was married to Jane Anna Margarethe Sodenstierna (1905-2004). [10] They had four children: Hans Leo, scientist administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.; Johan Christopher, anesthesiologist, Serafimer Hospital, Stockholm; Ursula Katarina, Ph.D., curator at The Royal Collections, The Royal Court, Stockholm, Sweden; and Marie Jane, Chemical Engineer, Melbourne, Australia. In 1958, von Euler married countess Dagmar Cronstedt, a radio broadcaster who had during the Second World War worked at Radio Königsberg, broadcasting German propaganda to neutral Sweden. [11]


His short stay as a postdoctoral student in Dale's laboratory was very fruitful: in 1931 he discovered with John H. Gaddum an important autopharmacological principle, substance P.[12] After returning to Stockholm, von Euler pursued further this line of research, and successively discovered four other important endogenous active substances, prostaglandin, vesiglandin (1935), piperidine (1942) and noradrenaline (1946).

In 1939 von Euler was appointed full professor of physiology at the Karolinska Institute, where he remained until 1971. His early collaboration with Liljestrand had led to an important discovery, which was named the Euler–Liljestrand mechanism (a physiological arterial shunt in response to the decrease in local oxygenation of the lungs).

From 1946 on, however, when noradrenaline (abbreviated NA or NAd) was discovered, von Euler devoted most of his research work to this area. He and his group studied thoroughly its distribution and fate in biological tissues and in the nervous system in physiological and pathological conditions, and found that noradrenaline was produced and stored in nerve synaptic terminals in intracellular vesicles, a key discovery which changed dramatically the course of many researches in the field. In 1970 he was distinguished with the Nobel Prize for his work, jointly with Sir Bernard Katz and Julius Axelrod. Since 1953 he was very active in the Nobel Foundation, being a member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and chairman of the board since 1965. He also served as vice-president of the International Union of Physiological Sciences from 1965 to 1971. Among the many honorary titles and prizes he received in addition to the Nobel, were the Gairdner Prize (1961), the Jahre Prize (1965), the Stouffer Prize (1967), the Carl Ludwig Medaille (1953), the Schmiedeberg Plaquette (1969), La Madonnina (1970), many honorary doctorates from universities around the world, and the membership to several erudite, medical and scientific societies. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1970,[13] a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1972,[14][15] and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1973.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Blaschko, Hugh K. F. (November 1985). "Ulf Svante von Euler. 7 February 1905-10 March 1983". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 144–170. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0006. JSTOR 769923. PMID 11621203.
  2. ^ Igić, Rajko (2018). "Remembrances of Ulf Svante von Euler". Acta Physiologica. 224 (3): e13098. doi:10.1111/apha.13098. PMID 29783281.
  3. ^ Raju, T. N. (1999). "The Nobel chronicles. 1970: Bernard Katz (b 1911), Ulf Svante von Euler (1905-1983), and Julius Axelrod (b 1912)". Lancet. 354 (9181): 873. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)80056-7. PMID 10485764. S2CID 54313055.
  4. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (1995). "Ulf von Euler--norepinephrine and the Nobel Prize". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 70 (3): 273. doi:10.4065/70.3.273. PMID 7861816.
  5. ^ Anon (1970). "Nobel Prizes: Neurophysiologists Honoured (Ulf von Euler, Julius Axelrod, Bernard Katz)". Nature. 228 (5269): 304. doi:10.1038/228304a0. PMID 4319740. S2CID 43451577.
  6. ^ Sabbatini, R.M.E.: Neurons and synapses. The history of its discovery IV. Chemical transmission. Brain & Mind Magazine, 17, April–July 2003.
  7. ^ Ulf von Euler – Biography. Nobel Foundation.
  8. ^ "Ulf Svante Hansson von Euler-Chelpin, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1970". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  9. ^ "About Us". World Cultural Council. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "Jane von Euler-Chelpin (Sodenstierna)". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  11. ^ "Dagmar Carola Adelaide Cronstedt". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  12. ^ v Euler, U. S.; Gaddum, J. H. (1931). "An unidentified depressor substance in certain tissue extracts". The Journal of Physiology. 72 (1): 74–87. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1931.sp002763. PMC 1403098. PMID 16994201.
  13. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  14. ^ "Ulf Svante von Euler". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  15. ^ "Ulf S. von Euler". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 2022-09-12.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Ulf von Euler at Wikimedia Commons
  • Ulf von Euler on Nobelprize.org Edit this at Wikidata including the Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1970 Adrenergic Neurotransmitter Functions
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by Chairman of the Nobel Foundation
Succeeded by