A statement from Dr Walter Pierpaoli
When I think of the “peptide swamp”, I wonder why should this tiny tripeptide called erroneously and misleadingly “thyrotropin-releasing hormone” (TRH) be classified as a “hormone”.
Certainly his discoverer Roger Guillemin would agree with me that in fact, names are given to new molecules with unknown functions then become victims of nomenclature and lose their true identity, forcing us to limit our freedom of mind in a vicious circle which produces irreparable damages.
The great Peter Medawar was rightly saying that; “molecules do not change in evolution, they simply acquire new functions”. This is true for the large polypeptide glycoprotein prolactin as well as for the tripeptide TRH. However, there must be a starter at the origin of life, initiating the sequence of those steps, lasting billions of years, when “something happened”. How many billions of years were between the first peptide and mammals?
Whether or not life was generated by organic matter, a meteorite or by a combination of natural elements on the primeval crust of our planet, after 23 years of my association with TRH, I must now and definitely modify, and radically adapt my mind to a new vision of what organic life is, by liberating myself from the reductive and simplistic chemical and biochemical cage.
Obviously our rationalistic mental logic is inadequate to appreciate how life was generated and is maintained. I am also scared by the brilliant proposals of many machine-builders who remind us of horror movies where lightning struck artificial bodies bring them alive! In fact, certainly energies of all kinds circulate everywhere and affect functions in our body and generally in all living matter. But this is a different story!
Is TRH unique in the peptide swamp? Certainly its presence is maintained in the most fundamental functions of the body, namely immunological defense mechanisms and regulation of energy production! It is the progressive alteration and decay of those two functions which underlie the course of aging.
Whether or not other peptides exist with similar or identical functions, precursors or derivatives of TRH can maintain functions which are nested in a kind of “magic flash” which is the key to understand TRH and generation of life itself. TRH is truly God’s sprinkle of creation.
TRH occupies key positions in all biological species, from grass to mammals. Its absence is not conceivable for life. Life without TRH could not exist at all. Whether in simple algae or in man, TRH makes life possible.
The question arises: how was it possible that we did not notice it long ago? I think the answer is also new. We could not imagine a molecule which escapes the rules of chemistry and biochemistry, inserting itself in the domain of bioenergetics and vesting a role of universal adaptation thanks to its permanent instability.