Eugen Steinach

Eugen Steinach

Dr Eugen Steinach (1861-1944) a leading Austrian physiologist and pioneer in endocrinology.

Dr. Steinach performed endocrine research that was aimed to revolutionize human life by the use of glandular techniques, for example, experiments with vasectomy operations. Such research is now largely discredited, and Steinach's own belief in it was related to the broader social and cultural views of that time period. Dr Steinach conducted experiments in the transplantation of a male guinea pig's sex glands into a female and vice versa, resulting in the male guinea pig developing some so-called "female" sexual behaviors. This eventually led Steinach to theorize the possibility that the gland's secretions (hormones) might account for homosexuality. In the 1930s, the Freudian theories that early child upbringing could explain such "perversions", replaced Steinach's biological conjectures. Nowadays, with the ongoing moderation and deconstruction of some of Freud's cruder concepts, there is a return to this similar biological approach of the "gay brain" or "gay genes".

Dr. Steinach was a former Director of the Biological Institute of the Viennese Academy of Sciences. He also was appointed the director of Vivarium's Physiology Department where he continued such related research. This position was made possible by the Austrian Zoologist, Hans Przibram, who hired Dr. Steinach. It was at this institution that Steinach's research developed into an idea that the gonad was a double gland and that one section (the puberty gland) produced "physical and psychic secretions" or the bases of sexuality.Steinach developed a theory based on tying off the spermatic cords in order to prevent the production of wasted sperm resulting in an increase of internal secretion. He held the belief that age was connected to the mysterious Leydig cells located in the testes. Steinach named these interstitial cells "puberty glands" - a term still related to his name. The "Steinach operation" or vasoligation, was conducted by Steinach in order to provide a "surgical reactivation" of the male. This operation is also still used today, especially in some specific urinary complications.

It was believed that the so-called "Steinach operation" (vasectomy) could even restore sexual vigor in men, and by verbal testimony by Harry Benjamin, Dr. S. Freud underwent this operation for a possible cancer cure. The Irish poet W B Yeats also had the operation with a view of increasing his vigour, and became known as "the gland old man" of Dublin.


* Studien über den Blutkreislauf der Niere (Studies on the Circulation of the Kidney), Sitzungsbericht der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 90: 171, pt. 3, Vienna, 1884

* ---, and von Vintschgau, M., Über die Reaktionszeit von Temperaturempfindungen (Reaction Time to Temperature), in: Pflügers Archiv, 41: 367, 1887

* Eine Vorrichtung zur Behandlung mikroskopischer Präparate (Arrangement for the Handling of Microscopic Preparations), in: Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Mikroskopie, 4: 433, 1887

* Vergleichend-physiologische Studien über Pupillarreaktion (Comparative Physiological Studies on Pupillary Reaction), in: Zentralblatt für Physiologie, 1: 105, 1887

* ---, and von Vintschgau, M., Zeitmessende Versuche über den Temperatur- und Drucksinn (Experiments to Measure Temperature and Pressure Sensation Time), in: Pflügers Archiv, 43: 152, 1888

* Eine physiologische Wirkung der Strophantuspräparate (A Physiological Effect of Strophanthus Preparations), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 1: 431, 461, 1888

* Untersuchungen zur vergleichenden Physiologie der Iris. I. Über Irisbewegung bei den Wirbeltieren und über die Beziehung der Pupillarreaktion zur Sehnervenkreuzung im Chiasma (Investigations in Comparative Physiology of the Iris. I. Iris Movement in Vertebrates and the Relation of Pupillary Reactions to Optic Nerve Crossings in the Chiasma), in: Pflügers Archiv, 47: 289, 1890

* Zur Anatomie und Physiologie des Sphincter Pupillae der Amphibien und Fische und einiger Wirbellosen (Anatomy and Physiology of the Sphincter Pupillae in Amphibians and Fish and a Few Invertebrates), in: Lotos, Jahrbuch für Naturwissenschaften, 12, 1891

* Demonstration pigmentierter glatter Muskelfasern (Demonstration of Pigmented Smooth Muscle Fibres), Verhandlung der anatomischen Gesellschaft, Munich, 1891

* Über den Farbenwechsel bei niederen Wirbeltieren, bedingt durch direkte Einwirkung des Lichtes auf die Pigmentzellen (Colour Change in Lower Vertebrates brought about by Direct Action of Light on Pigment Cells), in: Zentralblatt für Physiologie, 5: 326, 1891

* Untersuchungen zur vergleichenden Physiologie der Iris. II. Über die direkte motorische Wirkung des Lichtes auf den Sphincter Pupillae bei Amphibien und Fischen und über die denselben aufbauenden pigmentierten glatten Muskelfasern (I. Investigations in Comparative Physiology of the Iris. II. Direct Motor Effect of Light on the Sphincter Pupillae in Amphibians and Fishes and on the Pigmented Smooth Muscle Fibres Concerned in Its Structure), in: Pflügers Archiv, 52: 495, 1892

* Ein Kopfhalter für Versuchstiere verschiedener Grösse (A Head Holder for Experimental Animals of Different Sizes), in: Pflügers Archiv, 53: 171, 1892

* Bemerkungen betreffend den Contentivapparat für Vivisektionen (Remarks Concerning the 'Contentiv' Apparatus for Vivisections), in: Pflügers Archiv, 54: 552, 1893

* Über die motorische Innervation des Darmtractus durch die hinteren Spinalnervenwurzeln (Motor Innervation of the Intestinal Tract through the Posterior Spinal Nerve Roots), in: Lotos, Jahrbuch für Naturwissenschaften, 14, 1893

* Über die negative Schwankung des Nervenstromes bei nicht elektrischer Reizung des Nervenstammes oder der Wurzeln (Negative Fluctuations of Nerve Currents after Nonelectric Stimulation of Nerves or Roots), in: Pflügers Archiv, 55: 487, 1893

* Untersuchungen zur vergleichenden Physiologie der männlichen Geschlechtsorgane (Comparative Physiology of the Male Sex Organs), in: Pflügers Archiv, 56: 304, 1894

---I. Über den Geschlechtstrieb und den Geschlechtsakt bei Fröschen (Sex Instinct and Sex Act in Frogs). Inclination to the clinging reflex in frogs before and during the season of rut also occurs in animals which had been castrated a few months previously. The secondary sex characteristics therefore pre-exist to some extent with a certain degree of independence of the gonads, but their development and complete maturation are linked to the presence of the sex glands.

--II. Über die physiologische Bedeutung der akzessorischen Geschlechtsdrüsen der Säuger (Physiological Significance of the Accessory Sex Glands of Mammals). Importance of the seminal vesicles and prostate, particularly their secretions, for propagation.

-III. Über den Geschlechtstrieb der vor und nach der Pubertät kastrierten Ratten und über das Schicksal der akzessorischen Geschlechtsdrüsen in Folge der Kastration (Sex Instinct of Rats Castrated before and after Puberty, and the Fate of the Accessory Sex Glands). In mammals (rats), also, the sex instinct pre-exists, that is, the sex instinct occurs to a slight extent in early (infantile) castrates. The seminal vesicles and prostate remain at an infantile stage of development in animals castrated in early life. The enormous growth which they exhibit in maturing normal animals is therefore due to the influence of the gonads.

* Motorische Funktionen hinterer Spinalnervenwurzeln (Motor Functions of Posterior Spinal Nerve Roots), in: Pflügers Archiv, 60: 593, 1895

* Über die elektromotorischen Erscheinungen an Haut Sinnesnerven bei adäquater Reizung. Ein Beitrag zur objektiven Sinnesphysiologie (Electromotor Phenomena on Cutaneous Sensory Nerves after Adequate Stimulation. A Contribution to Objective Physiology of Sensation), in: Pflügers Archiv, 63: 595, 1896

* Über die visceromotorischen Funktionen der Hinterwurzeln und über die tonische Hemmungswirkung der Medulla Oblongata auf den Darm des Frosches (Visceromotor Functions of the Posterior Roots and the Tonic Inhibiting Effect of the Medulla Oblongata on the Frog Intestine), in: Pflügers Archiv, 71: 532, 1898

* Ein Vacuum-Quecksilberschlüssel für Stromunterbrechung und Nebenschluss (A Vacuum Mercury Current Interrupter and Auxiliary Switch), in: Pflügers Archiv, 78: 286, 1899

* Über die centripetale Erregungsleitung im Bereiche des Spinalganglions (Centripetal Excitation Conduction within the Sphere of the Spinal Ganglion), in: Pflügers Archiv, 78: 291, 1899

* Über die Chromatophorenmuskeln der Cephalopoden (Chromatophore Muscles of Cephalopods), Sitzungsbericht der deutschen naturwissenschaftlichen Versammlung Lotos, 1900

* Studien über die Hautfärbung und über den Farbenwechsel der Cephalopoden nebst Versuchen über die autogene Rhythmicität der Chromatophorenmuskeln (Skin Pigmentation and Colour Change in Cephalopods, together with Experiments on the Autogenous Rhythmicity of Chromatophore Muscles), in: Pflügers Archiv, 87: 1, 1901

* Über die lokomotorische Funktion des Lichtes bei Cephalopoden (Locomotor Function of Light in Cephalopods), Pflügers Archiv, 87: 38, 1901

* ---, and Kahn, R. H., Echte Contractilität und motorische Innervation der Blutcapillären (Genuine Contractility and Motor Innervation of Capillaries), in: Pflügers Archiv, 97: 105, 1903Proof is offered that the capillaries can contract in similar manner as the arteries. This contractility rests upon the function of cells in the capillary walls which show a muscle character. It is further shown, for the first time, that the capillaries are furnished with contractile nerve fibres and that the expansion of the capillaries depends upon the nervous system. These characteristics of capillaries are of the utmost significance for the distribution of blood throughout the organism.

* Die Summation einzeln unwirksamer Reize als allgemeine Lebenserscheinung (Integration of Singly Ineffective Stimuli as a Generalized Life Phenomenon), in: Pflügers Archiv, 125: 239, 1908.The capacity to integrate singly ineffective stimuli is not to be considered as a particular attribute of the ganglion cell. This capacity is a generalized life phenomenon which is present in the most diverse substances and developed to an enormous extent.

* Geschlechtstrieb und echt sekundäre Geschlechtsmerkmale als Folge der innersekretorischen Funktion der Keimdrüsen (Sex Instinct and Genuine Secondary Sex Characteristics as a Result of Internal Secretion of the Gonads), in: Zentralblatt für Physiologie, 24: 551, 1910

---I. Präexistente und echt sekundäre Geschlechtsmerkmale (Pre-existent and Genuine Secondary Sex Characteristics). The so-called secondary sex characteristics exist independently of the gonads, but in less pronounced expression; their growth, maturation, and complete development are, however, linked to the gonads.

--II. Über die Entstehung des Umklammerungsreflexes bei Fröschen (Origin of the Clinging Reflex in Frogs). The clinging reflex in frogs depends, not on nerve impulses, but on an internal secretion which is produced in the testicle before the rutting period. This internal secretion acts upon the central nervous system in such a way that the existing centres of inhibition are weakened during the season of rut, or suppressed entirely. Thereby the full expression of the clinging reflex during the period of rut becomes possible.

-III. Entwicklung der vollen Männlichkeit in funktioneller und somatischer Beziehung bei Säugern als Sonderwirkung des inneren Hodensekretes (Development of Complete Functional and Somatic Masculinity in Mammals as a Particular Effect of Internal Secretion of the Testicle). In mammals, too, for example in the rat, the development of somatic and psychic sex characteristics (seminal vesicles, prostate, erotization), is controlled by the internal secretion of the testicle. Castration in early age periods prevents growth and development of sex characteristics. Testicular transplants in such infantile castrates lead to normal physical and psychic development. The production of this physiological testicular hormone takes place in the so-called interstitial tissue (Leydig's cells) and not in seminal canals which serve for the production of spermatozoa.

* Willkürliche Umwandlung von Säugetiermännchen in Tiere mit ausgeprägt weiblichen Geschlechtscharacteren und weiblicher Psyche (Arbitrary Transformation of Male Mammals into Animals with Pronounced Female Sex Characters and Feminine Psyche), in: Pflügers Archiv, 144: 71, 1912.Through transplantation of ovaries into infantile castrated guinea-pigs the female sex characteristics, physical and psychic, are brought to development (feminization). This includes particularly the development of the mammary gland and nipples, milk secretion, willingness to give suck, feminine direction of the sex instinct and skeletal form, hirsute character and type, and deposition of adipose tissue of female type. Simultaneously, male characteristics are extensively inhibited.

* Feminierung von Männchen und Maskulierung von Weibchen (Feminization of Males and Masculization of Females), in: Zentralblatt für Physiologie, 27: 717. 1913.Testicular transplants in infantile spayed female guinea-pigs bring about development of masculine Anlagen (masculization): development of the male organ, masculine sex instinct, skeleton, and pilosity.

* Pubertätsdrüsen und Zwitterbildung (Puberty Glands and Hermaphroditism), in: Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 42: 307, 1916.Simultaneous transplantation of testicle and ovary into infantile guinea-pig castrates effects the development of masculine and feminine sex characteristics (experimental hermaphroditism).

* ---, and Holzknecht, G., Erhöhte Wirkungen der inneren Sekretion bei Hypertrophie der Pubertätsdrüsen (Increased Effects of the Internal Secretion in Hypertrophy of the Puberty Glands), in: Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 42: 490, 1916.Irradiation of ovaries of infantile female guinea-pigs leads to great growth of the uterus, mammary glands, nipples, and to milk secretion. The cause for this is the proliferation of the puberty gland cells in the ovaries brought about by the irradiation.

* ---, and Lichtenstern, R., Umstimmung der Homosexualität durch Austausch der Pubertätsdrüsen (Transformation of Homosexuality through Exchange of Puberty Glands), in: Münchner medizinische Wochenschrift, 65: 145, Feb. 5, 1918.Cure of homosexuality in man through castration and simultaneous implantation of inguinal testicle.

* Künstliche und natürliche Zwitterdrüsen und ihre analogen Wirkungen (Artificial and Natural Hermaphrodite Glands and Their Analogous Effects), in: Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 4, 6: 12, 1920

---I. Die antagonistisch-geschlechtsspezifische Wirkung der Sexualhormone vor und nach der Pubertät (Antagonistic and Sex Specific Effect of Sex Hormone before and after Puberty). Sex hormones are sex-specific, that is, the male hormone bringe the Anlagen of male characteristics to development, the female hormone doing the same for the Anlagen of female characteristics. With this effect upon characteristics of like sex goes an inhibiting (antagonistic) effect on the characteristics of the opposite sex, preventing their development or, when already started, retarding them or causing their involution.

--II. Künstliche Zwitterdrüsen bei Säugern und Vögeln (Artificial Hermaphrodites in Mammals and Birds). Summary of work on experimental hermaphroditism in birds and mammals.

-III. Experimentelle und histologische Beweise für den ursächlichen Zusammenhang von Homosexualität und Zwitterdrüse (Experimental and Histological Proofs for the Causal Connexion between Homosexuality and the Hermaphrodite Gland). Proof of the dual character of ovaries of homosexual goats.

* Histologische Beschaffenheit der Keimdrüse bei homosexuellen Männern (Histological Structure of Gonads of Homosexual Men), in: Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 46: 29, 1920Examination of the testicles of homosexual men revealed the following: atrophy of spermatic tissue, partial degeneration of the male interstitial cells, presence of large cells differing widely from the preceding and which approach in appearance and structure the female cell types.

* ---, and Kammerer, P., Klima und Mannbarkeit (Climate and Puberty), in: Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 46: 391, 1920.Maintenance of rats in higher temperatures effects an increase of size of the testicles, microscopically a proliferation of the interstitial cells. As a result the secondary sex characteristics (seminal vesicles, prostate) are greatly enlarged. In female animals there is an increase of cells in the puberty gland.

* Verjüngung durch experimentelle Neubelebung der alternden Pubertätsdrüse (Rejuvenation by Experimental Revitalization of the Ageing Puberty Gland), Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanismus, 46: 553, 1920.Reactivation of senile male rats by ligature of the spermatic ducts of the testicle (vasoligature). The ligation induces a proliferation of Leydig's cells and thereby an increased hormone production, which is the cause of the manifestations of reactivation. Reactivation of senile female rats through transplantation of young ovaries. Vasoligation in man. Description of typical cases.

* Altersbekämpfung und Räude (Senility and Mange), in:Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift, No. 31, 1921Combating the view that the senile rats used in the reactivation operation were affected with menge, and proving that they were suffering from a genuine loss of hair.

* ---, Heinlein, H., and Wiesner, B. P., Auslösung des Sexualzyklus, Entwicklung der Geschlechtsmerkmale, reaktivierende Wirkung auf den senilen weiblichen Organismus durch Ovar- und Placentaextrakte (Initiation of the Sexual Cycle, Development of Sex Characteristics, Reactivating Effect on the Senile Female Organism of Ovarian and Placental Extracts), in: Pf1ügers Archiv, 210: 598, 1925Preparation of an extract from ovaries and placentas which contains the female sex hormone. Description of its effect on vagina, uterus, and mammary gland in ovariectomized rats and guinea-pigs and in senile rats.

* ---, and Kun, H., Antagonistische Wirkungen der Keimdrüsen-Hormone (Antagonistic Effects of the Gonadal Hormone). in: Biologia Generalis, 2, Nos. 7, 8, 1926Injection of the female sex-hormone extract in an infantile male rat results in inhibition of the development of the secondary sex characteristics (seminal vesicles, prostate, penis) and of the growth of the testicles.

* Biological Methods against the Process of Old Age, Medical Journal & Rec., 125: 77, 161, 1927

* ---, Dohrn, M., Schoeller, W., Hohlweg, W., and Faure, W., über die biologischen Wirkungen des weiblichen Sexualhormons (Biological Action of the Female Sex Hormone), in: Pflügers Archiv, 219: 306, 1928Preparation of a female hormone extract in aqueous solution. Effect of this extract on hyperanemia and growth of the mammary gland (milk secretion) and on the uterus.

* ---, Kun, H., and Hohlweg, W., Reaktivierung des senilen Ovars und des weiblichen Gesamtorganismus auf hormonalem Wege (Reactivation of Senile Ovary and Female Organism through Hormones), in: Pflügers Archiv, 219: 325, 1928Effect of female hormone on the entire organism of senile female rats, particularly restoration of hair-growth and restitution of blood constituents (increased red cell count and haemoglobin content). Reactivation of ovarian activity and restoration of fertility.

* ---, and Kun, H., Die entwicklungsmechanische Bedeutung der Hypophysis als Aktivator der Keimdrüseninkretion (Significance of Hypophysis as Activator of Gonadal Secretions), in: Medizinische Klinik, 24(1): 524, 1928Extracts of anterior lobe of the pituitary induce precocious maturation, physical and psychic, in infantile male rats. The cause lies in the activation of Leydig's cells of the testicle, which are greatly increased in number. Pituitary extracts injected into eunuchoid and senile animals effect a stimulation of deficient testicular function and hand in hand therewith a development of the atrophic sex characteristics.

* Ein Reizstoff des Zentralorgans und die zentrale Funktion (An Excitant of the Brain, and Central Nervous System Function), in: Medizinische Klinik, 25 (2): 1273, 1929.Extracts from brain and spinal cord increase reflex excitability in swamp frogs and increase the fly-catching ability of tree toads.

* ---, and Kun, H., Notiz zur biologischen Prüfung eines Hirnreizstoffes (Biological Tests of an Excitant from Cerebral Substance), in: Medizinische Klinik, 26 (1): 119, 1930Supplementary experiments on the effect of brain and spinal cord extracts.

* ---, and Kun, H., Luteingewebe und männliche Geschlechtscharactere (Lutein Tissues and Masculine Sex Character), in: Pflügers Archiv 227: 266, 1931In the ovary, which secretes a sex-specific hormone, there is also a hormone which affects male characteristics. This masculine hormone is localized in the lutein tissue. A condition exists in the ovary which may be called hormonic bisexuality.

* Die Wirkungen des männlichen Sexualhormons auf die psychischen und somatischen Geschlechtsmerkmale (The Effects of the Male Sex Hormone upon the Psychological and Somatic Sex Characteristics), in: Akademische Anzeige der Akademie der Wissenschaften, No. 18, Vienna, 1933The chemically prepared male sex hormone is able to bring psychic and somatic sex characteristics in castrated, eunuchoid, and senile male rats to a normal stage of development.

* ---, Stäheli, A., and Grüter, F., Behebung der Sterilität bei landswirtschaftlichen Nutztieren (Rinder, Kühe, Schweine) durch das weibliche Sexualhormon (Correction of Sterility in Cattle and Pigs), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 47: 129, 1934A single injection of female sex hormone initiates estrus in sterile cattle together with somatic and psychic signs. These findings have the practical significance that sterile animals can be used for breeding purposes.

* Zur Geschichte des männlichen Sexualhormons und seiner Wirkungen am Säugetier und beim Menschen (History of the Male Sex Hormone and Its Effect in Mammals and Man), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 4 9: 161, 196, 1936Summarizing presentation of the course of research on male sex hormone with consideration of the physiological, chemical, and clinical studies.

* ---, and Peczenik, 0., Diagnostischer Test für hormonbedingte Störungen der männlichen Sexualfunktion und seine klinische Anwendung (Diagnostic Test for Disturbances of Male Sex Function Due to Internal Secretion, and Its Clinical Application), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 49: 388, 1936Description of a method by which disturbances of sex function of hormonic origin can be differentiated from those of nervous or psychic origin by the creatine content of the urine. Report of clinical experiences with the use of male sex hormone, as regards its reactivating effect and specific influence on sexual function of men of different age periods.

* ---, Kun, H., and Peczenik, 0., Beiträge zur Analyse der Sexualhormonwirkungen (Analysis of Sex Hormone Effects), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 49: 899, 1936I. Proof that the physiological testicular hormone and the isolated female hormone bring about a hyperaemia of the brain as shown by vital staining, while this power is lacking in the synthetic male sex hormone.II. Description of a test which permits the determination of the degree of effectiveness of male sex hormone through initiation of erotization and potency in castrated male rats. The addition of female hormone to the male increases the effectiveness.III. The male organism is able to convert excessive male hormone into substances with female effectiveness (animal experiment).IV. Increased effect of male hormone through addition of the hyperanemia-inducing female hormone in clinical application.

* ---, and Kun, H., Transformation of Male Sex Hormones into a Substance with the Action of a Female Hormone, in: Lancet, 2 (2): 845, 1937In man, also, there is a transformation of male hormone into a substance with the effect of a female hormone.

* ---, Peczenik, O., and Kun, H.: Über hormonale Hyperämisierung insbesondere über den Einfluß der männlichen Sexualhormone und ihrer Kombination mit weiblichem Hormon auf erhöhten Blutdruck und Hypertonus (Hormonic hyperanemia, Particularly the Influence of the Male Sex Hormone and Its Combination with Female Hormone on Elevated Blood Pressure and Hypertension), in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 51: 65, 102, 134, 1936. Male sex hormone reduces elevated blood pressure and hypertension. The combination of male and female hormone increases this action. See-- (reference)

* Sex and Life: Forty years of biological and medical experiments, Viking Press, New York 1940.

* ---, and Loebel, J.: Sex and Life: Faber & Faber, London 1940.

* Vita e sesso. Un capitolo di endrocrinologia sessuale. Traduzione, note e appendice del Dr. Giuseppe Fachini, A. Mondadori (Ed.); Verona 1941.

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