Professor Steinach also succeeded in artificially producing a premature maturity in very young animals. He was able to do this by any agency which would destroy the rudiments of the reproductive cells and cause proliferation of the other tissues. The following are such agencies: transplantation to some other site; X-radiation; heat; intoxication; and in males, ligature and section of both sperm-ducts. Unfortunately, if the reproductive masses are damaged on both sides, all formation of reproductive cells is henceforth impossible. I have not been able to ascertain whether this last experiment has been done unilaterally. If so, the premature maturity might be accompanied by the production of reproductive cells. In this connection, the following case of a unilateral lesion, in which there occurred seminal nocturnal emissions in childhood, is very significant.
I refer to the case reported by Lacchi. This case was a boy, aged nine, four feet seven inches high, with beard, erections, appetite and emissions. The left testicle was amputated for carcinoma, and within four months every one of the above phenomena disappeared. This disappearance is significant as a control-test.
The appearance of phenomena is thus a profound modification of normal vegetative growth. This modification manifests itself first as a change in the composition of the body-fluids, and later by a new cell-formation—two processes which are hardly separable. Similarly, it is the sap of the tree which causes its fruit to grow.
We do not know at present exactly how these organochemical substances determine the direction of desire. Theoretically one might suppose that these specific substances exert specific influences on the brain-cells. But this may be regarded as rather speculative and does not help us much.