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Homage to George E. Palade: the human body viewed as a multicrine system

G. N. Chaldakov


`Seldom has a field owed so much to a single man` - in 1971, George Emil Palade wrote these words for Albert Claude, the founder of biological electron microscopy. Now, expressing my profound homage to him, I would like to articulate the same words for George E. Palade, the scientific father of many generations in cell biology research and education. In 1981, I met Palade for first time during the World Physiology Congress held in Budapest, Hun­gary, and said to him that I know every single word and micrograph published in his articles on pancreatic exo­crine secretion. They have driven my research on the secretory pathway in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) studied by electron microscopy (1972-1992). In the present lecture I will focus on two paradigm shifts, namely (i) the transition from light to electron microscopy in studying cell structures and functions made by Albert Claude, George Palade, Christian de Duve and Günter Blobel from the famous Rockefeller group in New York, and (ii) the transition from a `classical` to secretory phenotype of various cell types, e.g. cardiomyocytes, skeletal muscles and liver, bone, stomach, gut and adipose cells, also VSMC, the latter initiated in the 1970s by Maria Daria Haust in Canada and Russell Ross in USA and by our Laboratory of Electron Microscopy in Varna, later renamed Labo­ratory of Cell Biology. Altogether, these will be discussed in a sense that the human body may be viewed as a mul­ticrine system.

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G. N. Chaldakov
Medical University of Varna

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