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Biological Relations of Optically Isomeric Substances

    Naturevolume 120page152 (1927) | Download Citation



    IN this shop monograph the late Prof. Cushny has given an account of the pharmacological behaviour of those drugs which exist in an optically isomerio form. Starting from Pasteur's work on the separation of the two forms of tartaric acid by means of the differences in their crystalline form, the author describes how optical isomers can be separated by combining them with another substance which is itself optically active or by means of physical agents, such as heat, which in certain cases lead to the development of different properties by the two isomers. The relation of enzymes to optical isomers and the fate of the latter in the living tissues are then dealt with. Following a section on their pharmacological action, to our knowledge of which the author himself contributed by his researches, the final and most interesting chapter is devoted to some general aspects of this subject. It appears probable that the specific activity of a drug depends on three factors: the general structure of the molecule, some special grouping, such as the alcoholic OH in the side chain of the acid in hyoscyaminc, and, finally the presence of an asymmetric carbon atom. It is the latter which leads to a chemical combination between the drug and the cell, but it is on the second property that its specific action chiefly depends.

    Biological Relations of Optically Isomeric Substances.


    Arthur R.


    By. (The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Charles E. Dohme Memorial Lectures, Third Course, 1925.) Pp. viii + 80. (London: Baillière, Tindall and Cox, 1926.) 9s. net.

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