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© Borgis - Postępy Nauk Medycznych 5/2008, s. 326-328
Prof. Andrzej Gardas, Ph.D.
The history of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry in years 1971-2008

The Department of Biochemistry was established in 1970 as a part of Faculty of Basic Sciences at the Medical Centre of Postgraduate Education (MCPE). The same year Professor Stefan Niewiarowski, Ph.D. was established as a Head of the Department and started its organization in a newly built facility of MCPE in Warsaw at Marymoncka Street 99/103. In the middle of 1970 (after Prof. Niewiarowski´s departure to the USA), Dr. Bohdan Lipiński became the Head of the Department. In this period the main research area was focused on processes of coagulation, fibrynolysis system and disturbances of calcium metabolism (Dr. R. Lorenc, Dr. E. Marcinowska-Suchowierska, Dr. M. Szczepański). In 1971, after Dr. Bohdan Lipiński´s departure to the USA, Dr. Janusz Nauman took the position of the Head of the Department. Beside the hitherto area of interests there were new research groups created, working on thyroid metabolism and diagnostics of thyroid diseases. The research of the Department focused then on the effects of steroids on generalized Shwartzman reaction, calcium homeostasis in the kidney, isolation and characteristics of antibodies against thyroid hormones and radioimmuno-assays of thyroid hormones in blood. One of the results of the studies was analysis and description (in 1973, for the first time) of the „Low T3 Syndrome” in myocardial infarction. The other area of research focused on pathophysiology of Graves-Basedov Disease, clinical picture of infiltrative ophtalmopathy and the effect of catecholamines on peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones. Another result of the work was scientific cooperation with groups of Prof. S. Lissitzky from Marseille (France), Prof. J. Wall from Montréal (Canada), Dr. D. Hesh from Hannover (Germany) and Dr. S. Porta from Graz (Austria).
Another field of the Department´s work was short- and long-term educational courses (Ph.D studies) for foreign scientists. The cooperation with European scientific centers resulted in postdoctoral visits of Dr. Grażyna Adler, Dr. Barbara Czarnocka in Marseille, Dr. Tomasz Kamiński in Hannover and Dr. Alicja Nauman and Dr. Janusz Nauman at the Columbia University in New York and NIH in Bethesda, USA. The identification of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) by Dr. B. Czarnocka as a microsomal antigen is one of the remarkable discovery of not only the Department but also of the whole Polish science. The article by Dr. Czarnocka is up today an often cited Polish medical publication in thyreology. The Department was visited by eminent scientists from Europe (Prof. S. Lissitzky, Dr. R. Winand, Prof. Hennen, Prof. G. Hannemman, Prof. D. Hesh) and the USA (Dr. L. Kohn, Prof. J. Wall, Prof. J. Oppenheimer).
The other outstanding achievements of the team lead by Prof. Nauman are: isolation of antibodies against triiodothyronine and thyroxine, development of methods of radioimmuno-assays for these hormones and implementation of the tests production (years 1973-1974) which enabled diagnostics of disturbances of thyroid function in Poland.
Similarly important was research on therapeutic mechanism of propranolol action in hyperthyroidism; the studies on humoral effect in clinical and experimental myocardial infarction; the first in the world description of „Low T3 Syndrome” (1975) and the observation that fall of the triiodothyronine level correlates with clinical picture and severity of the myocardial infarction and correlates with the level of catecholamines; the identification of antibodies reacting with membrane antigen of ocular bulb muscles (1985) and studies on the role of these antibodies in development and clinical picture of ophtalmopathy. The other area of interest was focused on the potential role of thyroid hormones in obesity. The reactor accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (1986) and the risk of iodide isotope contamination was reduced by a quick decision of Government Commission to administer in the whole country single, blocking dose of potassium iodide. Prof. Nauman was one of the initiators of the action and then the initiator and Head of the population studies in Poland (1987-1990). The studies revealed that the only early effect of the radiological contamination was temporary increase of anti-thyroid antibodies. The prophylaxis was administered to c.a. 12.5 million of children and adolescents and c.a. 7 million of adults. This was the first large-scale action of this type in the history of nuclear accidents or explosions. The research showed that single dose of potassium iodide reduced the dose of the radioiodide accumulated in the thyroid gland of 41%-12% (dependently on the time of the potassium iodide administration). This model of prophylaxis was accepted as a standard by the USA, most of the European countries and is recommended by World Health Organization.
Selected important publications by Prof. J. Nauman up to 1990.
1. Nauman J., Nauman A., Werner S.C., Total and free triiodothyronine in human serum. J Clin. Invest., 46, 1346-1355, 1968
2. Werner SC., Nauman J. The thyroid. Annu Rev Physiol., 30, 213-44, 1969
3. Nauman J., Zmiany oczne w chorobie Gravesa-Basedowa. Pol Arch Med. Wewn, 49, 463-47 1972
4. Nauman J., Nauman A., LATS, a naciekowe zmiany oczne w chorobie Gravesa Basedowa. Polskie Archiwum Medycyny Wewnętrznej, 49, 597-606, 1972

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