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The quantification and differentiation of the drug receptor theory, c.1910-1960.

Maehle, A. H. (2005) 'The quantification and differentiation of the drug receptor theory, c.1910-1960.', Annals of science., 62 (4). pp. 479-500.


While historians have dealt with the origins of the concept of drug receptors in the work of Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) and John N. Langley (1852-1925) as well as with some of its applications in modern pharmaceutical research, the history of the receptor theory as such has been neglected. Discussing major developments and conceptual changes in receptor theory between about 1910 and 1960 (including relevant contributions by A. V. Hill, A. J. Clark, J. H. Gaddum, E. J. Ariëns and others), this paper attempts to fill this gap in historiography. It provides a case study of the unfolding of research under a new paradigm, but it considers also contemporary criticism and scepticism. By the early 1960s, quantitative investigations of drug action and interpretations of the experimental findings in terms of the receptor concept had become constitutive of the emerging field of 'molecular pharmacology'. Even then, however, receptors were still hypothetical entities.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Receptor theory, Pharmacology, Receptors, Drugs.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:October 2005
Date first made open access:No date available

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