Lavrentiev, Boris Innokentievich

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Lavrentiev, Boris Innokentievich

(b. Kazan, Russia, 13 August 1892; Moscow, U. S. S. R, 9 February 1944)


Lavrentiev graduated from the Medical Faculty of Kazan University in 1914. From then until 1920 he was an army doctor, and in 1921 he became a prosector in the department of histology of Kazan University. In 1925 he was sent for a year to Utrecht to work in the neurohistological laboratory under J. Boecke. From 1927 to 1929 Lavrentiev was professor of histology at the Veterinary Faculty of the Zootechnical institute in Moscow, then head of the department of histology at the First Moscow Medical Institute from 1929 to 1932. He headed the morphology department of the All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine in Leningrad (it moved in 1934 to Moscow), at the same time holding the chair of histology at the Second Moscow Medical Institute. From 1941 to 1943, when the Institute of Experimental Medicine was evacuated to Tomsk, Lavrentiev was its acting director. In 1943 he continued his scientific work and teaching in Moscow. He was elected corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1939.

The work of Lavrentiev and his collaborators was in the experimental study of the histophysiology of the autonomic nervous system. Their experiments with resection of ganglions and section of nerves, as well as their subsequent study by means of silver impregnation that adopted the Bielschowsky-Gross method (with Lavrentiev’s modification), allowed investigation of the phenomena of degeneration and regeneration of the lost nerve connections and changes in synapses, autonomic ganglia, and the nerve endings in tissues and organs. On the basis of his research Lavrentiev supported the concept of the trophic effect of the nervous system and the theory of its neuronal structure. Lavrentiev demonstrated the existence and functions of interneuron bonds (synapses) not only on histological sections but also intravitally on the isolated heart of the frog, and he established that synapses ensure relative independence of neurons while connecting them in an integral system. In his work on the sensitive innervation of internal organs and the morphology of interoceptors, Lavrentiev suggested a classification of such receptors and determined the origin and localization of the sensitive neurons supplying internal organs.


I. Original Works. Lavrentiev’s writings include “Innervatsionnye mekhanizmy (sinapsy), ikh morfologia i patologia” (“Innervation Mechanisms “[Synapses]”, Their Morphology and Pathology”), in Transactions of the Ist Histological Conference (Moscow, 1934); “Gistofiziologia innervatsionnykh mekhanizmov (sinapsov)” (“The Histology of Innervation Mechanisms “Synapses””), in Fiziologichesky zhurnalSSSR, 21, nos. 5-6 (1936), 858-859; “Nekotorye voprosy teorii stroenia nervnoy tkani” (“Some Problems of the Theory of the structure of Nervous Tissue”), in Arkhiv biologicheskikh nauk, 48 ,nos. 1-2 (1937), 194-210; “Chuvstvitelnaya innervatsia vnutrennikh organoy” (The sensitive Innervation of Internal organs”), in Zhurnal obshchei biologii,4 no. 4(1943),232-249; “Morfologia antagonisticheskoi innervatsii v avtonomnoi nervnoi sisteme” (“The Morphology of Antagonistic Innervation in the Autonomic Nervous System”), in Morfologia avtonomnoy nervnoy sistemy (“The Morphology of the Autonomic Nervous System”), 2nd ed. (Moscow, 1946); and “Chuvstvitelnaia innervatsia vnutrennikh organov” (“The Sensitive Innervation of Internal Organs”), in Morfologia chuvstvitelnoy innervaysii vnutrennikh organov (“Morphology of the Sensitive Innervation of Internal Organs” ) (Moscow, 1948), 5-21

II. Secondary Literature. See N. G. Feldman, B. I. Lavrentiev (Moscow, 1970); A. N. Mislavsky, “Pamyati B.I.Lavrentieva” (“In Memory of B.I.Lavrentiev”), in Zhurnal obshchei biologii,5 , no. 4 (1944), 199-199; E.K.Plechkova, “Boris Innokentievich Lavrentiev,” in Lyudi russkoy nauki. Biologia… (“Men of Russian Science. Biology…” ,Moscow, 1963), 448-448;and A. A.Zavarzin, “pamyati B.I.Lavrentieva,” in Morfologia avtonomnoy nervnoy sistemy (“Morphology of the Autonomic Nervous System”), 2nd ed. (Moscow, 1946), 7-12

L. J. Blacher

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Lavrentiev, Boris Innokentievich

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