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Philip B. Bradley was born in Bristol, England, in 1919. He graduated from Bristol University in Zoology and Chemistry, in 1948, and received his PhD in Pharmacology, and DSc in Neuropharmacology from the University of Birmingham, in 1952 and 1958, respectively (Bradley 2000).

In 1951, while still a postgraduate student, Bradley joined Joel Elkes’s newly founded Department of Experimental Psychiatry at the University, and in the early 1950s, he developed a technique for studying electrical activity in the brain in conscious animals (Bradley 1952; Bradley and Elkes 1953a). With the employment of the new technique, he studied the effects of several centrally acting drugs on the electrical activity of conscious cat (Bradley and Elkes 1954). His findings with atropine and physostigmine, provided further substantiation of Abraham Wikler’s (1952) finding of a dissociation between the effect of anticholinergic drugs, such as atropine, on behavior  and on the electroencephalogram (EEG) in dog (Bradley and Elkes 1953b). This “lack of correlation“, was not present with the other drugs they studied, such as amphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and chlorpromazine (Bradley 2000; Bradley and Elkes 1953b).

In the mid- and late-1950s, Bradley extended his research to the study of the effects of drugs on the brain stem reticular formation (reticular activating system) by recording, in collaboration with Brian Kay, arousal response produced by direct electrical stimulation of the brainstem reticular formation or by peripheral auditory stimulation.  Findings in these studies indicated that drugs, which produced an effect on the EEG that was correlated with behavioral effects, acted, either directly, as the barbiturates and amphetamines, or indirectly, as chlorpromazine and LSD, on the brain stem reticular formation, whereas drugs which produced an effect on the EEG that was not correlated with behavior, as atropine or physostigmine, acted more diffusely (Bradley 1957b; Bradley and Kay 1957, 1959; Moruzzi and Magoun 1949).

After defining the role of the brain stem reticular formation in the action of different psychotropic drugs, Bradley, with the adoption of a floating microelectrode technique, still in the 1970s , studied the effect of adrenaline and acetylcholine on single unit activity of the decerebrate cat, and subsequently with the employment of microiontophoresis, a technique he pioneered with John Wolstencroft,  he began mapping neurons of the brain stem reticular formation on the basis of their response to putative neurotransmitters (Bradley 1957a, 2000, 2011; Bradley and Mollica 1958). Continuing with his research on the effect of drugs on the brain, in 1970, he demonstrated with his associates that LSD antagonized the action of 5-hydroxytryptamine not only in the periphery, as shown by Gaddum, in 1953, but also in the brain (Boakes, Bradley, Briggs, Dray 1970; Gaddum 1953).
By the 1980s, Bradley research shifted to the study of receptors and his findings with the employment of microiontophoresis, reported in 1984 and 1986, contributed to the classification of opioid and serotonin receptors, respectively (Bradley and Brooks 1984; Bradley et al 1986; Dhawan et al 1996).  One year later, in 1987, Bradley published his Introduction to Neuropharmacology.

Philip Bradley died in 2009.  

Boakes RJ, Bradley PB, Briggs I, Dray A. Antagonism of 5-hydroxytryptamine by LSD 25 in the central nervous system: a possible neuronal basis for the actions of LSD 25. Br J Pharmacol. 1970; 40: 202- 18.

Bradley PB. Observations of the effects of drugs on the electrical activity of the brain, 1952. Doctoral Thesis, University of Birmingham, England.

BradleyPB. Microelectrode approach to the neuropharmacology  of reticular formation. In:Garattini S, Ghetti V, eds. Psychotropic Drugs. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1957a, 207-16.

Bradley PB. The central action of certain drugs in relation to the reticular formation. In: Jasper HH, Proctor LD, Knighton RS, Noshay WC, Costello RT., eds. Reticukar Formation of the Brain. New York: Little Brown: 1957b, 123-49.

Bradley PB. Introduction to Neuropharmacology. Bristol: John Wright; 1987.

Bradley PB. A personal reminiscence  of the birth of psychopharmacoloy. In: Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter E, editors. The Triuph of Psychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula: 2000, pp.25-32.

Bradley PB. interviewed by Ban TA. In: Ban TA, editor An Oral History of Psychopharmacology. Volume 2 (Fink M, editor. Neurophysiology) Brentwood: American olleeof Neuropsychopharmacology; 2011, pp.123 – 57. 

Bradley PB, Brooks A. A microiontophoretic study of the actions of mu, delta- and kappa-opiate receptor agonists in the rat brain. Br J Pharmacol. 1984; 83:763 - 72.

Bradley PB, Elkes J. A technique fro recording the electrical activity of the brain in the conscious animal. EEG Clin Neurophysiol 1953a; 5: 451-6.

Bradley PB, Elkes J. The effect of atropine, hyoscyamine, physostigmine and neostigmine on electrical activity of the brain of the conscious cat. J Physiol 1953b; 120: 14-15.

Bradley PB, Elkes J. Te effects of some drugs on the electrical activityof thebrain.Brain 1954; 80: 77-117.

Bradley PB, Engel G, Feniuk W, fozard JR, Humphrey PP, Midlemiss DN, Mylecharane EJ, Richardson BP, Saxena PR. Proposals for the classification and nomenclature of functional receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine. Neuropharmacology 1986; 25: 563-76.

Bradley PB, Key BJ. The effect of drugs on arousal responses produced by electrical stimulation on reticular formation of the brain.  EEG Clin Neurophysiol 1957; 10: 97-110.

Bradley PB, Key BJ. A comparative study of the effects of drugs on the arousal system of the brain.  Br J Pharmacol Chemother 1959;14:340-9.

Bradley PB, Mollica A. The effect of adrenaline and acetilcholine on single unit activity in the reticular formation of the decerebrate cat. Arch ita Biol 1958; 96: 168-186.

Dhawan BN, Cesselin F, Raghubir R, Reisine T, Bradley PB, Portoghese PS, Hamon M. International Union of Pharmacology. XII. Classification of opioid receptors. Pharmacol Rev. 1996; 48: 567-92.

Gaddum JH. Antagonism between lysergic acid diethylamide and 5-hydroxytryptamine. J Physiol 1953; 121: 15.

Moruzzt G, Magoun HW. Brainstem reticular formation and activation of the EEG. EEG Clin Neurophysiol 1949; 1: 455-73.  

Wikler, A. Clinical-electroencephalographic correlations, with special reference to epilepsy. JAMA. 1952; 149:1365-1368.

Marina Dyskant Mochkovitch
April 24, 2014