- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Gilbert Breschet

Born  1784
Died  1845

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French anatomist, born July 7, 1784, Clermont-Ferrand; died May 10, 1845, Paris.

Biography of Gilbert Breschet

Following his medical studies at the University of Paris, Gilbert Breschet was conferred doctor of medicine at the University of Paris in 1812, with a dissertation based on some of the thoughts of François Joseph Victor Broussais (1772-1838), but worked over in a highly original way by Breschet. After receiving his doctorate he settled in Paris. From 1818 he was chief of anatomical works at the Paris faculty. In 1836 he was appointed professor of anatomy at the Faculté de médecine de Paris, succeeding Léon Jean Baptiste Cruveilhier (1791-1874) to that position.

Breschet participated in important research on zoonoses. For centuries the saliva of the mad dog was considered the source of the infection, but it was not until 1804 that a German scientist, Georg Gottfried Zinke (1771-1849), succeeded in transmitting rabies from the saliva of a rabid dog to rabbits and roosters. In 1913, Breschet and Fançois Magendie (1783-1855) reversed this process, infecting dogs with saliva obtained from a human patient suffering from rabies.


  • Sur les hydropsies. Doctoral thesis, 1812.
  • Essai sur les veines du rachis. 1819. His most famous early work.
  • Recherches anatomiques, physiologiques et patholiques sur le système nerveux. Paris, 1827-1829.
  • Mémoires chirurgicaux sur différentes espèces d'anévrismes, présentés a l'Académie Royale des Science le 8 octobre 1832. Paris 1834.
    This book on aneurysms was first presented as a lecture to the Académie Royale des Sciences and was also published in its Mémoires. Breschet discusses the different types of aneurysms that occur in various parts of the body and presents a number of case histories.
  • Études anatomiques physiologiques et pathologiques de l'oeuf dans l'espèce humaine et dans quelques-unes des principales familles des animaux vertébrés. Paris and London, 1833.
    This monograph is an extract from Mémoires de l'Académie royale de médecine. In it, the author traces the development of the fetus from the time of conception until birth. He also includes descriptions of embryonic and fetal development which lead to parturition and birth defects.
  • Traité des maladies des enfants. 2 volumes, Paris, 1833.
  • Études anat et phys sur l’organe de louie etc. Paris, 1834,
  • Traité d’anatomie humaine.
    With Alexandre Brierre de Boismont (1797-1881). 1834.
  • Nouvelles recherches sur la structure de la peau.
    Published with Augustin Roussel de Vouzème (born 1754). 1835.
  • Le système nerveux considéré sous les rapports anatomiques, physiologiques et pathologiques. Paris, 1836.
  • Histoire anatomique et physiologique d'un organe de nature vasculaire découvert dans les Cétacés. Suivie de quelques considérations sur la respiration de ces animaux et des amphibies.
    Paris: Breschet, 1836. facsimile reprint Berne, 1988.
    On his discovery of the 'rete mirabile', the organ of whales and dolphins which enables them to survive at great depths.
  • Recherches anatomiques et physiologiques sur l'organe de l'ouie et sur l'audition, dans l'homme et les animaux vertebres. Deuxième édition, à laquelle on a ajoutée l'histoire du plexus nerveux du tympan. Paris : J. B. Baillière, 1836. 295 pages.
  • Le Système Lymphatique...
    Paris, Imprimerie de Bourgogne et Martinet, 1836. 301 pages.
  • Recherches anatomiques et et physiologiques sur l'organe de l'ouie des poissons.
    Paris : Imprimerie Royal, 1838. 126 pages.

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