Jacques Loeb (1859-1924) and His Forgotten Contributions to Electrolyte and Acid-Base Physiology in The Organism as a Whole

G Ital Nefrol. 2016 Feb:33 Suppl 66:33.S66.28.


Jacques Loeb (1859-1924) was the founder of the Journal of General Physiology which he co-directed in association with W.J.V. Osterhout in the years 1918-1924. Having worked (1889-1891)at the Marine Zoological Station of Naples, newly founded by Anton Dohrn, he was imprinted for life. A strong investigator used to perform the experiments personally. Loeb was engaged lifelong in the explanation of life on physico-chemical basis. He touched various fields (being a creative scientist full of ideas), and centered on the exchanges of electrolytes, acids and bases between the body and sea water in fish. He identified two equations: {[K+]+[Na+]}: {[Ca++]+[Mg++]} (Loebs 1st equation) {[K+]+[Na+]}: {[H+]+[Ca++]+[Mg++]} (Loebs final equation) Even nowadays these equations may have applications in a wide list of electrolyte and acid-base disturbances. Unfortunately his heredity has been dissipated.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Electrolytes / history*
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • Prussia
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Electrolytes

Personal name as subject

  • Jacques Loeb