Johann Lukas Schönlein

Johann Lukas Schönlein

Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864) was a German physician.

Regarded as one of the most prominent doctors and clinicians in Germany during the period following the Napoleonic wars in Germany (1815- 1858). Schönlein was the personal physician to king Frederick Willian IV.

Schönlein was not a big writer, most of what is known of his achievements, comes from publications by his students. Eponymously affiliated with Henoch-Schönlein Purpura

  • Born November 30th, 1793 Bamberg, Germany, the son if a well-off rope maker
  • 1811 – Began his studies in natural science at the University of Landshut, but later changed his area of focus to medicine. He graduated in 1816 but did not plan on perusing a clinical career.
  • 1824 – Promoted to Chair of Internal Medicine to the director of the Juliusspital, a large university hospital in Wuzburg.
  • 1833 – Schönlein had very liberal political views and as a result, during times of political reactions against liberal republicans in south Germany, he left his position at Juliusspital and fled to Switzerland where he became the Dean of the Medical Faculty.
  • 1839 – he returned to Germany, where he became chair of clinical medicine in Berlin.
  • 1859 – Retired and went to live with his daughters after both his wife and son died, and his own health began to deteriorate.
  • Died 23 January 1864

Medical Eponyms
Schönlein-Henoch purpura (1837)
  • Schonlein Tricophyton (1839): a rare form of fungus, which cases favus
  • Schonlein Disease: an allergic or anaphylactic purpura that occurs in individuals, especially children. Characterized by purpura of the skin, pain in the abdomen, swelling, pain and tenderness of the joints, swelling of the hands, feet, or eyelids.

Key Medical Attributions
  • Contributed greatly to the field of pediatrics: Removed fever from the classification of whooping cough.
  • Coined the terms hemophilia and tuberculosis.
  • Described Seidlmayer’s Purpura: a manifestation that occurs in infants and children after infections
  • Johann Lukas Schonlein, described the association between non-thrombocytopenic purpura and arthritis, where years later his student, Eduard Heinrich Henoch, described the association between abdominal pain and non-thrombocytopenic purpura. The combination of the findings are now known as Henoch Schonlein Purpura (HSP) or IgA vasculitis  

Major Publications
  • Schönlein JL. Allgemeine und specielle Pathologie und Therapie : Nach dessen Vorlesungen niedergeschrieben und herausgegeben von einigen seiner Zuhörer 1832 [General and Special Pathology and Therapy: After its lectures written down and published by some of its listeners] – [HSP description Volume 1 S 41]
  • Schönlein JL. Zur Pathogenie der Impetigines. Archiv für Anatomie, Physiologie und wissenschaftliche Medicin. 1839;82-83 [Schonlein Tricophyton]


MB Bch BAO - National University of Ireland, Galway. From Ireland, living in Australia, chasing the Emergency Medicine dream. Interests include Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry and Paediatrics. Also passionate about Ultimate Frisbee. Curator of @LITFLblog on instagram

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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