A REPORT OF WORK IN PROGRESS *
J. B. COLLIP, M.A., PH.D.
Extracts have been prepared from the tissues of a
variety of the higher plants which produce fatal
hypoglycemia when injected into normal rabbits. Lawn
grass has been found to be a very satisfactory and
readily available source of the principle which produces
this effect on the blood sugar. The time of onset of
profound hypoglycemia following the administration
of plant extracts to normal rabbits varies a great deal.
The results of a long series of experiments show that
fatal hypoglycemia may be manifested at any time
from one day to six weeks following the injection of
the plant extract.
When a rabbit has marked hypoglycemia as a result
of the injection of a plant extract, the blood of such
an animal, when injected into another normal rabbit,
has produced fatal hypoglycemia usually within from
twenty-four to thirty-six hours. The blood or serum
of the second animal has produced a similar effect on
a third, and so on. It would appear that animal passage
of the principle is possible to an indefinite extent, and
the production of this potent serum in quantity can be
very readily carried out. A lethal dose may be con-
tained in as small a quantity of passage blood as 0.05 c.c.
It has also been found that certain plant extracts as
well as "passage blood" are capable of reducing mark-
edly the blood sugar and the sugar excretion of
What the significance of these results may be, I am
not prepared to state. They were obtained in the course
of efforts to obtain insulin or an insulin-like substance
from plant cells. The plant extracts prepared produced
certain physiologic effects somewhat analogous to those
that are produced by insulin. The temptation would
be to attribute these effects to an action analogous to
From the Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta.
Read before the Section on Phar:nacology and Therapeutics at the
Seventy-Fourth Annual Session of the American Medical Ass.ciation,
San Francisco, June, 1923.