Biography of Karl Albert Ludwig Aschoff (1866-1942)

German physician born on January 10, 1866 in Berlin and died on June 24, 1942 in Freiburg. Notable pathologist, his studies focused on intracardiac excitoconduccion system, in addition to identifying the Phagocytic activity of a set of cells scattered throughout the tissues of the body which it termed Reticuloendothelial System. Aschoff formed an essential part of the Group of European researchers, such as Rudolf Virchow and Julius Cohnheim, specialized in the pathological research during the second half of the century XIX.

Son of a prominent physicist, after completing his preliminary education in Berlin, Aschoff obtained his PhD at the University of Bonn in 1889, giving him the opportunity to study with great doctors like Robert Koch and Rudolf von Kölliker. From 1891 he/she began to work at the Institute of pathological anatomy of Strasbourg, for two years later move to Göttingen, where he/she investigated over a decade. In 1903 he/she got a square of Professor at the University of Marburg and three years later at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau, which would spend the rest of his life. In both centres played the Chair of pathological anatomy. Their most productive years, in relation to research, developed between 1904 and 1914 when, as for other European scientists, their research were interrupted by the first world war.

The two most important contributions of Aschoff and his laboratory are especially significant in the history of Cardiology: the discovery of the nodule atrioventricular (called Aschoff nodule, as well as the Aschoff-Tawara node), and the description of those known as "Aschoff bodies". Both discoveries were based the detailed studies of histology of the heart undertaken by Sunao Tawara, a Japanese doctor who worked in Aschoff's laboratory in Marburg for three years.

Like many others of his contemporaries, Aschoff embraced the heartbeat myogenic theory. The investigations that led to the acceptance of this theory during the last years of the 19th century made that you focus their attention on the myocardium. Hoping to help prove the theory of the myocarditis as heart failure, Aschoff asked Tawara examine a lot of hearts through the microscope. While his research did not support the theories of Krehl and Romberg, led him to discover the Aschoff bodies, a few small nodules in the myocardium in some cases of rheumatic fever. Although some researchers had already found that the changes in the myocardium were sometimes present in rheumatic fever, Aschoff was the first person to describe a specific pathology in this disease. In this way, he/she explained that peculiar nodules were regularly situated in the vicinity of a small or medium vessel.

In 1924 Aschoff traveled to the United States to teach master and conferences in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. At that time he/she joined the theory that atherosclerosis was due in part to a dysfunction in liposo metabolism, as it had been tested in animal experiments.

Aschoff was a prolific author; his works include large number of books and more than 200 articles. One of the most important publications was Beiträge zur pathologischen Anatomie und zur allgemeine Pathologie ('contributions to the pathological anatomy and General pathology').

Teacher who was at the head of his generation and founder of the German pathological society, one of his last pupils, F. Tremaine Billings, recalled him as the last of the major descriptors austro-americanos of anatomical pathology.