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Roger Guillemin: Neuroscientist who Showed How the Brain Controls Hormones via Nature

30 April 2024

Roger Guillemin identified the molecules in the brain that control the production of hormones in endocrine glands such as the pituitary and thyroid. His work led to a torrent of advances in neuroendocrinology, with far-reaching effects on studies of metabolism, reproduction and growth. For his discoveries on peptide-hormone production in the brain, Guillemin shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Andrew Schally and Rosalyn Yalow. He has died at the age of 100.

In the autumn of 1969, after analysing millions of sheep brains for more than a decade, Guillemin and his colleagues determined the structure of thyrotropin-releasing factor (TRF). This small peptide is produced in the hypothalamus, a small region at the base of the brain, and is transported to the anterior lobe of the nearby pituitary gland, where it triggers the release of the hormone thyrotropin.

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