Autar Singh Paintal received DSc (1960) from University of Edinburgh, UK and DSc (hc) from four universities. He was Professor of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi (1958-64); Director, VP Chest Institute (1964-90) and Principal, University College of Medial Sciences, University of Delhi (1971-72); and Director General, ICMR (1986-91).
Academic and Research Achievements:Dr Paintal began his research career by introducing a new index for evaluating galvanic skin responses in 1951, new techniques for recording impulses from single active fibres from nerves and proving their conduction velocities and a method for locating visceral receptors. He discovered (i) type b atrial receptors, (ii) gastric stretch receptors responsible for the immediate satiation of hunger and thirst, (iii) ventricular pressure receptors, (iv) mucosal mechanoreceptors of the intestines and (v) pressure-pain receptors of muscles. He is best known for the discovery of the J receptors and for showing that they produce tachypnoea and breathlessness, that they are interstitial volume receptors and that they produce inhibition of somatic muscles. He later showed that they were stimulated by increase in blood flow, and finally, that they produced sensations in the throat leading to dry cough. He also showed that there were no chemoreceptors in the pulmonary circulation and that aortic chemoreceptors were not stimulated by CO2. His discovery of the principle relating to the relative dilution of multiple solutes in flowing fluids introduced a new method for measuring in vivo the blood concentration of injected drugs.
Other Contributions:Dr Paintal made major contributions to create awareness of AIDS in India and controlling its spread. He served as Member of the IUPS Commission on Somato-Sensory Physiology. He was Chief Editor, Indian Journal of Chest Diseases; Editor, Indian Journal of Physiology and Allied Sciences and J Auton Ner Sys; Associate Editor, New Physiol Sci (IUPS and APS); also edited the books Morphology and Mechanism of Chemoreceptors and Respiratory Adaptations, Capillary Exchange and Reflex Mechanisms.
Awards and Honours:Dr Paintal was conferred numerous awards, notably: Shakuntala Devi Amir Chand Prize by ICMR (1956); Basanti Devi Amir Chand Prize by ICMR (1957); Dr BC Roy National Award (1973) and Silver Jubilee Research Award, both by Medical Council of India (1979); Barclay Medal by Asiatic Society (1982); Rameshwardas Birla National Award (1982); First Jawaharlal Nehru Award in Science by Madhya Pradesh Government (1983); Acharya JC Bose Medal (1985); Silver Jubliee Award by AIIMS (1986); and Padma Vibhushan (1986). Lectureship awards won by him include: Basanti Devi Amir Chand Prize Oration (1968); Sarabhai Oration by Association of Physicians of India (1970); Sri Ram Oration by NAMS (1973); Dr BC Roy Oration (1974); Chandy Oration by Neurological Society of India (1978); Silver Jubilee Research Award Oration by Medical Council of India (1979); Warner Oration by National College of Chest Physicians (1981); Sharpey-Schaffer Memorial Lecture, Edinburgh (1981); Nayudamma Science Foundation Lecture (1982); NAMS Oration (1982); Dr Raju Oration by Pharmacological Society of India (1982); Ranbaxy Oration (1985); Brig. Mazumdar Memorial Lecture (1987); JC Bose Memorial Lecture (1988); V Ramakrishna Memorial Lecture (1989); and KN Seneviratne Memorial Lecture (1990). He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London, National Academy of Medical Sciences (India), Allahabad, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Royal College of Chest Physicians, and Asiatic Society; Honorary Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh; Honorary Member, Physiological Society, UK, American Physiological Society; Foreign Member, Soviet (Russian) Academy of Sciences; Founder Member (First President), Society for Scientific Values; and President, INSA (1987-88).