Biography of Juan Negrín López (1892-1956)

Politician, statesman, physician and Spanish promoter born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1892 and died in Paris (France) on November 12, 1956. He/She was Professor of Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Madrid, and initiator of the school of this specialty, which reached great prestige in the world and among whose disciples are Severo Ochoa or Francisco Grande Covián.

Teaching and scientific

Coming from a wealthy family of the island commercial bourgeoisie, Negrin began studying medicine in Kiel (Germany). Later, his interest in Physiology made him move to Leipzig, where he/she entered the Faculty of Medicine of the city. There he/she made contact with Theodor von Brücke (1880-1941), one of main physiologists of this era, who convinced him that you enter in the Institute of Physiology and assumed the post of "Deputy Assistant", shortly before finishing his studies at the University. Received his doctorate in 1912 with a thesis on the "glucosaria experimental".

In addition to medical studies, Negrin attended virtually all of the career of chemistry in Germany and even dedicated a part of his time to the study of Economics, that acquired knowledge which would be you extremely useful in the delicate moments of responsibility that would live during the civil war.

Negrin's first investigations were devoted to studying the adrenal glands and its relationship with the central nervous system, which attempted to prove the existence of a neurological control direct on blood glucose levels, or if this control was carried out indirectly through adrenaline. Thus, under the direction of Brücke, Negrin studied initially the physiological mechanism of glycosuria produced by the bite or puncture of the fourth ventricle, known by the name of piqûre glicogenique de Claude Bernard(1855). His work was published in the newsletter of the society Spanish of biology (1911) when he/she was only 19 years old.

Investigations by Negrín allowed him to observe the regulatory role of Central glusosurico located in the fourth ventricle on the internal secretion of the adrenal glands through the sympathetic nervous system. In this way, he/she managed to demonstrate that reciprocal action "endocrine nervous-system" was not only accomplished through peripheral parts of the nervous system, but also through the central vegetative part, with what was found, from experiences vivisectivas, the relationship between glycosuria and adrenaline levels.

However, the theme that Negrin devoted greater attention at this stage was study the variations of the cromofilo content of the adrenal in different experimental conditions, although its findings were never published. However, after follow this line of research and continue their experiences about the puncture of the fourth ventricle, glycosuria and secretion of adrenaline, reached to publish several works in which determined a procedure to view the contents of the adrenals in chromophil substance along with Brücke. In this way, Negrín and Brücke provided a new method for confirmation of the fact, discovered by Kahn (1912), relative to the decrease of the chromophil substance after the piqûre.

At the same time, and also by Brücke, Negrin perfected their techniques of vivisection after studying the role of the sympathetic nerve as inervador tonic musculature, which contributed, on the other hand, a fast-track procedure of microanalysis for the quantitative determination of glucose in the blood. Also among his contributions, it is necessary to also mention translation which made from French into German of the Charles Richet work entitled L'Anaphylaxie, certainly revealing data from its pointed multilingualism.

The outbreak of the first world war forced Negrin to return to Spain (Las Palmas) in 1915, it had even to refuse an offer of work as "privat dozent". A year later was entrusted the direction of the newly created laboratory of General Physiology of the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas, installed at the Residencia de Estudiantes. Negrin began well in Madrid, as it did August Pi i Sunyer in Barcelona, a great process of renewal and update of experimental physiology.

A genuine school of important physiologists very well formed, thanks to the politics of pensions for the Board, in the most important centers of research of the moment was built in winch to your figure. The main core of researchers associated with Negrín was formed by José Domingo Hernández Guerra, José Mª. Corral García, José Sopeña Boncompte, José Miguel Sacristán Gutiérrez, Severo Ochoa de Albornoz, José Mª. García-Valdecasas, Ramón Pérez-Cirera, Blas Cabrera Sánchez, Rafael Méndez Martínez, Francisco Grande Covián and José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado, among the most significant.

In the laboratory, Negrin continued and completed its work initiated in Germany, which was, ultimately, the creation of some of the lines of research of their school. It undertook studies on the regulation of blood glucose, receptive substances and Physiology and pharmacodynamics of sympathetic terminations, closely related to the research carried out in Leipzig. In this sense, of Negrín major research in this period were aimed to continue their work in Leipzig on the adrenals and adrenaline, which attempted to clarify why hypersecretion adrenalin, against all odds, was not followed by an increase of blood pressure. Negrin perceived, behind the simple fact of the secretion of adrenaline, the possible evolutionary implications of his research: If you consider the sensitivity of the protoplasm to the most insignificant variations of the chemical Constitution of the medium in which it is located, Negrin stated that "it is presumed that changes of humoral environment, caused by the products of the cell turnoverthey can be considered the simplest expression of an endocrine function and, probably, as one of the first steps in the phylogenetic evolution of internal secretions". In the same exposure (1918) concluded that: "phylogenetically newer than the parasympathetic training is the sympathetic, and proceed emigrant central nervous system cells. Their ontogenic relationship with cromofilo tissue today is beyond doubt".

Negrin was famous for his innovations in medical instrumentation, designed with the help of the automatic laboratory directed by Leonardo Torres Quevedopersonnel. At the Congress of Physiology Paris (1920), according to Gonzalo Rodríguez-Lafora, "Negrin, collaborators and disciples, made a great impression, and your device 'the estalagmometro', designed to graphically pick the number of drops of liquids that pass through blood vessels in the experiences of Trendelenburg, to determine the dilatadora or constrictor action of different substances, was a great success; so much so that many of the eminent physiologists who attended have asked Madrid this ingenious physiological apparatus". At the same Congress, Negrin analyzed the classical technique of vivisection of Bernard critical which was published in 1922. He/She also designed a myograph direct no amplifier of rectilinear front inscription.

In 1920 revalidated his doctor's degree with a thesis on vascular tone and the mechanism of action vasotonica of the splanchnic, allowing him to be able to access the teaching University in Spain, as well as took place only two years later, when he/she obtained through the corresponding opposition the Chair in human physiology of the Central University of Madridwhich had remained vacant after the death of José Gómez Ocaña. Shortly thereafter, Negrin was elected, also Secretary of the Faculty of medicine, from which developed an exceptional work.

In this decade, Negrin laboratory activities showed a progressive biochemical orientation that marginalized in some way purely physiological character studies. Thus, work on exciting glycosuria gave way to the investigations of the own Negrin about the calcemia, normal basic metabolism in Spain and the bioelements.

At the request of Lafora, Negrin led an experiment designed to put to test the Spiritism, most notably the so-called power of Jaime Argamasilla see through opaque bodies. He/She said that as a claim, it was a magnificent subject of picaresque literature, but "do not enclose for me, the less scientific interest".

The modernization of his country led Negrin to progressively engage in political activity Spanish to be elected as a Deputy to Cortes in 1931, 1933 and 1936 Republican legislatures. This definitely marked his biographical path, since the activities derived from his parliamentary post would force him to abandon almost scientific research and university teaching, what meant, therefore, resignation to its initial vocation. However, where most clearly was revealed the great executive capacity of Negrín was Secretary of the Board of the University City, which agreed after the restructuring carried out with the proclamation of the Republic in 1931 and which remained until the outbreak of the civil war in 1936. With the outbreak of the war his full dedication to the policy would acquire dyes dramatic, after taking over government functions, first as Finance Minister and then as Prime Minister until the end of the contest, as you will see below.

His work as a statesman

During the dictatorship of general Primo de Rivera, Negrin was affiliated to the workers Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). In the elections of 1931, which inaugurated the second Republic, he/she obtained the Act of Deputy for his native city; He/She was re-elected in the elections of February 1936, in which the Popular Front was the winner. Already started the Civil War, Negrín held various positions in the Republican government. In September 1936 the President of Government, Largo Caballero, entrusted the portfolio of finance, despite considering him a bourgeois intellectual little interested in the problematic social worker. In front of the Ministry of finance management was effective. He/She managed to reorganize the police, turning it into an elite corps. With respect to its strictly economic performance, his Ministry was noted for the bolder solutions to the grave situation that crossed the Republican Spain in a State of war. Tasked to negotiate the purchase of foreign weapons and adopt various measures to curb the inflationary rise. In this sense, his most questionable decision was the transfer to the Soviet Union of the gold reserves of the Bank of Spain, in Exchange for Soviet military support.

In May 1937, to submit his resignation Largo Caballero, the President of the Republic, Manuel Azaña, entrusted the formation of Government Negrin. This was surrounded by representatives of almost all the branches of the left, with the exception of the CNT, which was contrary to any collaboration with the Communists, and the UGT, rebuffed by the departure of its leader, Largo Caballero's Government. Negrin was thereby create a strong cabinet, seamless. From the beginning its measures were aimed at strengthening the status of the battered Republican troops, which promoted the war industries and limited as far as possible the duties as the Basque country and Catalonia had acquired during the war. To carry out these purposes, Negrín had the backing of Communists and Socialists.

Influenced by the Communist program, it stubbornly opposed to any possibility of a negotiated solution to the war. His Government managed to some extent strengthen the morale of the Republican side and the own Negrin coined a propaganda slogan that showed what would be your course of action: bread with or without bread, resist. The Communists - which included already the own Negrin - hoped that, over time, the Spanish conflict is confused with the European race, in which democratic Nations would be United against fascism. Negrin forced the resignation of the Socialist Indalecio Prieto, Minister of defence, accusing him of maintaining a defeatist attitude, what did not, but obey the pressure of Communist militants. Since Negrin took over the defence portfolio. Despite this strategy of resistance at all costs (largely espoused from Moscow), in May 1938 Negrín made public its thirteen points, which could be interpreted as an underhand peace offer.

On September 21 of the same year, Negrin was going to carry out a measure so risky as ineffective. Hoping that Franco's Government withdraw forces German, Italian and Moroccan who supported him, the League of Nations announced the dissolution of the international brigades. The result was disastrous, since Franco allies continued sending troops and weaponry, and the Republican Army, on the other hand, had lost one of their main attack forces. In spite of this, Negrín, at the meeting of the Cortes held in Figueras Castle, demanded that the Republican Army resist until the end, even when, on February 1, 1939, the front of Catalonia succumbed to the thrust of the Francoist troops. Days later, the own Negrin accompanied Manuel Azaña to the French border. On 9 February again crossing the border moved by plane to the area centre of Spain, where the Republican Army refused even. At that time it had still intended to prolong the war, although no one on the Republican side maintained hope in victory.

Recognition by England and France from Franco's Government dealt the coup de grace to the Spanish Republic. On February 27, 1939, Negrin gathered at the airfield of Los Llanos at the controls of the Republican Army. Among the invited were the General Miaja, Matallana, Menendez, Escobar and Bernal, the colonels married, Moriones and Camacho, and the captain Buiza. The majority opinion was the search for a negotiated peace that will prevent an even bloodier defeat. Buiza warned Negrin that the Republican Navy would not resist the enemies bombing and that, if not stop the war, would seek refuge in a foreign port. Only the general Miaja was willing to maintain the resistance. Negrin response to the attitude of the military was to promote different managers of proven loyalty Communist, as Modesto, Lister, Tagüeña, or Valentín González. These promotions, not sanctioned by the Council of Ministers, were illegal. At the head of the Estado Mayor Central, Negrin placed Segismundo Casado López. But it rebelled against the policy of the President that is creating the National Defence Council, which attempted to negotiate peace with Franco. This uprising was seconded in Madrid and Cartagena.

Finally defeated the Republican side, on March 6, 1939 Juan Negrín left Spain on a plane bound to France. He/She remained as President of the Republican government in exile until 1945. From France he/she went to Britain, where he/she continued his scientific work. He/She died in Paris in 1956.

Even the memory of which the Madrid town came to be called "doctor Negrín pills" was kept of their passage by the Republican government and the hardness of the moment, decades later. These were not other than lentils, loved and hated at the same time as they were almost the only food available during the hard period of two years and a half in which the city of Madrid was under siege. The enemies of the Republic, before and after the advent of democracy, is refieron with real rage to Negrín gold to refer to a chapter that is obscure in the history of Spain, which meant the loss of our gold reserves, handed over to the Soviet Union, partly as payment and partly as collateral, for the acquisition of weapons for the Popular Army of the Republic. About this episode, it should be noted the documentation provided at the time by one of the sons of Negrín and collected here in Appendix.

Documentary Appendix

"Thirteen points Negrin"

(Document emanating from the Council of Ministers of the Spanish Republic, met in Barcelona on April 30, 1938, which declared the end of the war. The document, which sought a negotiated peace, was released everywhere, inside and outside of Spain, and in different languages.)

1. ensure the absolute independence and total integrity of Spain, a Spain that is totally free of any foreign interference, whatever its character and origin; with its peninsular territory and possessions intact and safe from any attempt of dismemberment, alienation or mortgage, retaining the protectorate areas allocated to Spain by international conventions, while these conventions not be modified with his speech and assent. Aware of the ancient duties to its tradition and its history, Spain will strengthen other countries links that imposes a common root of universal consciousness that has always characterized our pueblo.2. Release of our territory of foreign military forces that have invaded it, as well as those elements that have come to Spain from July 1936 with the pretext of a technical collaboration that involved or try to dominate in own legal life and economic espanola.3. People's Republic represented by a vigorous state that sits on principles of pure democracy, which exert their action through a Government endowed with full authority that confers voting citizen issued by universal suffrage and is the symbol of an Executive firm, dependent at all times guidelines and designs which the people espanol.4 mark. The social and legal structure of the Republic will be work of the freely expressed national will through a referendum which will take place as soon finished the fight, with fullness of guarantees, without restrictions or limitations, and to ensure to all those on it take part against any possible represalia.5. Respect to regional freedoms, without prejudice to the Spanish Unit; protection and promotion of the development of the personality and peculiarity of the various peoples that make up Spain, as imposed it a right and historical fact that, far from meaning a disintegration of the nation, constitute the best welding between elements that the integran.6. The Spanish State will guarantee the fullness of the rights to the citizen in civil and social life, freedom of conscience, and ensures the free exercise of the beliefs and practices religiosos.7. The State shall guarantee the legal and legitimate property acquired within the limits that impose the Supreme National interest and the protection of the producing elements. Without loss of individual initiative, it will prevent the accumulation of wealth that can produce the exploitation of the citizen and cherish the collectivity, distorting the coordinating action of the State in economic and social life. To this end, it will take care of the development of the small property, will ensure the family heritage, and all steps that lead you to an economic, moral and racial improvement of the producing classes will encourage. The property and the legitimate interests of foreigners will be respected and will be reviewed, with a view to compensation that apply, the damages inventaridados caused in the course of the war. For the study of such damage, the Government of the Republic created already the Commission's claims Extranjeras.8. Deep agrarian reform which settled the old aristocratic semi-feudal property which, lacking human, rational and economic, sense has always been the greatest obstacle to the development of the country's great potential. Seat of the new Spain on a wide and solid peasant democracy, owner of the land and of the trabaja.9. The State shall guarantee the rights of the work through advanced social legislation, in accordance with the specific needs of life and the economy espanola.10. Primary and basic concern of the State will be improving cultural, physical and moral of the raza.11. The Spanish army, at the service of the same nation, will be free from any tendency to party hegemony, and the people are to see in him the safe instrument for the defense of their freedoms and their independencia.12. The Spanish State reaffirms the constitutional doctrine of renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. Spain, faithful to the Covenants and treaties, will support symbolized policy at the League of Nations, which is to always preside over its rules. It confirms and maintains the rights of the Spanish State and claims a place in the concert of Nations, as a Mediterranean power, always willing to collaborate in the strengthening of collective security and the general defense of the country. To contribute effectively to this policy, Spain will develop and intensify all their possibilities for defensa.13. Broad amnesty for all Spaniards wishing to cooperate for the intense work of reconstruction and aggrandizement of Spain. After a struggle cruenta as which bloodies our land, which have revived the old virtues of heroism and idealism of the race, commits a crime of high treason to the destinations of our country who do not repima and smother the idea of revenge and retaliation, for the sake of common action of sacrifice and work that we are obliged to carry out all of his children in the future of Spain.

"Negrin gold"

In Paris, eighteen of December one thousand nine hundred fifty and six. To me, Enrique Pérez-Hernández and Moreno, Deputy consul of Spain in notarial functions by delegation of the his Excellency Mr. consul general of Spain in Paris, brought Don Rómulo Negrín Mijailov, greater age, married, engineer, accidental, domiciled in Paris, Avenue Henri Martin, 78A, and EXPOSES that, desiring to fulfill the will of his late father, don Juan Negrín and López, repeatedly exposed to the appearing party, and people of their privacy, wishes to make delivery, as it does, to the State Attorney, legal adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, don Antonio Melchor de las Heras, of all documents work in power said his father, don Juan Negrín and López, relating to Spanish gold deposit, in the boxes of the Bank of Spain in Madrid, which was delivered in trust for the people's Commissariat of making of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Lord appearing delivered in this Act a document written in French and signed in Moscow by the people programme developer and finance and of Foreign Affairs, Mr. g. f. Grinko and N. N. Krestinsky, and don Marcelino Pascua, as well as the original Decree of 13 September my nine hundred thirty-six, signed by don Manuel Azaña. It also delivered the rest of the documentation related to this topic, foliated personally by the appearing party and including number one to the one hundred and sixty eight.

Delivered this documentation the Lord appearing by record you as well running the will of his late father, don Juan Negrín and López, who understood that exceptional importance and national interest should be held by the Spanish State. Also you want to put on record the Lord appearing that the will of his late father, don Juan Negrín and López, was to facilitate the exercise of the actions that the Spanish State may apply for a refund of the cited gold to Spain in relation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Thus the Lord puts it appearing, and read that was for me this affidavit for appearance and delivery of documents previously specified to the State Attorney, legal adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, don Antonio Melchor de las Heras, by having renounced their rights to do so itself, confirms in its content and the firm with me. I attest. Meet the Lord appearing personally, I bear witness. Rómulo Negrín. Before me, Enrique Pérez-Hernández.




-Work alone:

"Metode senzill per to the determination of the content of matter chromaffin in capsules les suprarrenals", in works of the society of biology, no. 2. (1914, pp. 123-125; en colaboración con Th. von Brücke). "Regulation of vegetative life", in the Sun. (Madrid; 1918). "View doctor Negrín", in the Sun. (Madrid, 1926). ""On the mechanism of experimental diabetes caused by puncture of the fourth ventricle, in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year I, vol. i. (pp.147-149; 1911)."Zur Frage nach der genese der Piqûre-Glykosurie, in Archiv für die gesamte Physiologie, no. 114. (pp. 311-318;1912). ""Studies concerning the receptive substance" (previous note), in works of the Catalan society of biology, vol. V. (pp. 178-188, 1917). "The estalagmografo. "A device to register in a system of coordinates the flow of a liquid falling drops", in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year IX, vol. VIII. (pp. 60-67, 1920). The vascular tone and the mechanism of action of the splanchnic vasotonica. (Madrid; Impr. (Clásica Española, 1922). "The role of the adrenes in the glucosurias of bulbar origin", in book in honor of D. Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Original works of their admirers and disciples, vol. II. (Madrid; Jiménez and Molina printers, 1922, pp. (577-608). "No amplifier direct myograph of rectilinear front inscription, in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, vol. XI, Quincy "II. (pp. 231-233, 1925-1926a)."A new estalamografo", in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, vol. XI, Quincy II. (pp. 233-234, 1926b).


NEGRÍN LÓPEZ, j. and HERNÁNDEZ GUERRA, j. D. "The action of the piqûre on blood pressure" (previous note), in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year VIII, t. VII. (pp. 56-64, 1918-1919a).--: "studies on the receptive substance, II. The mechanism of the vasoconstrictor action of the barium chloride and the action of curare and nicotine on the vessels", in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year VIII, t. VII. (151-171, 1919b).NEGRÍN LÓPEZ, j. and SOPEÑA BONCOMPTE, j. "The content after the piqûre adrenal adrenalina", in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year X, Quincy III. (pp. 71-74, 1923).NEGRÍN LÓPEZ, j. and VON BRUCKE, th. "Eine enfache Methode zur guests des Gehaltes von Nebennieren an Chromaffiner Substanz", in Zeitschrift für biologisches Technik und Methodik, vol. 3. (pp. 311-314, 1912-1914a).--: "Mètode Senzill per to the determination of the content of matter chromaffin in les capsules suprarrenals", in works of the Catalan society of biology, vol. 12. (pp. 123-125, 1914b).--: "Zur Frage nach der Bedeutung des Sympathicus für den Tonus der Skelettmuskulatur", in Archiv für die gesamte Physiologie, no. 114. (pp. 55-64, 1916-1917).SOPENA BONCOMPTE, j. and NEGRÍN LÓPEZ, j. "hyperglycemia adrenaline in tiroidectomizados animals", in Bulletin of the society Spanish of biology, vol. X, Quincy III. (pp. 74-79, 1923).SACRISTAN GUTIERREZ, J. M. and NEGRÍN LÓPEZ, j. "Action of nicotine on blood glucose", in Bulletin of the Spanish society of biology, year VIII, t. VII. (pp. 56-64, 1918).


ANSO, Mariano. I was Minister of Negrín. (Barcelona, 1976).GALLEGO FERNÁNDEZ, a. "The physiologist Juan Negrín", in proceedings of the XXIII Congress national of the Spanish society of physiological Sciences. (University of La Laguna; Tenerife, 1988, pp. (13-18).JACKSON, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. 4th Edition (Barcelona, 1982).JACKSON, Gabriel and ALBA, Víctor. Juan Negrín. (Barcelona; Ediciones B, 2004).LAFORA, Gonzalo R.: "the Congress International of Physiology in Paris", the Sun, August 10, 1920.maranon, Gregorio: Obras Completas, vol. II, Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1968, pp. 35, 53.MARICHAL, Juan: "Science and politics: the historical significance of the doctor Negrín", triumph, June 22, 1974--: "Negrín", in the intellectual and policy. (Madrid; Pubs. the Residencia de Estudiantes, CSIC, pp. 83-106, 1990).PUCHE ALVAREZ, j.: "Juan Negrín", Science (Mexico), 17 (1957), 109-112.rodriguez QUIROGA, to. Dr. Juan Negrín and its school of Physiology. Juan Negrín López (1892-1956). A scientific biography [unpublished doctoral thesis]. (Madrid; Universidad Complutense).--: "Juan Negrín López (1892-1956)." His scientific and University work (1892-1936) ", in Asclepius, vol. XLVI, Quincy" I (pp. 157-176, 1994)--: "Contribution to the introduction of the experimental Physiology in Spain of the laboratory of General Physiology of the Board for extension of studies (1916-1936)" in: ARQUIOLA, e. & MARTINEZ PEREZ, j. "Science expanding. Studies on the diffusion of the scientific and medical ideas in Spain (siglos XVIII - XX) ", in Complutenses books of history of medicine and science, no. 3." (pp. 403-420, 1995--: "Juan López Negrín (1892-1956): scientist and statesman", in system, no 129.) (pp. 79-94, 1995)--: "Juan López Negrín (1892-1956)." The culmination of the process of renewal of the teaching of Physiology in Spain", in medicine and history, no. 63. (pp. 1-16, 1996)--: "Juan Negrín, physiologist, in Arbor, vol. CLXVIII, no. 608. (pp. 73-95, 1996)--: "The work University of Juan Negrín", in Bulletin of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, no. 26. (pp. 39-48, 1997)--: "of experimental physiology to the cultivation of modern biochemistry: the school of Physiology of Juan Negrín", in Arbor, vol. CLXI, no. 634. (pp. 121-140, 1998).