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Special Communications: Book Reviews

When Cells Die II: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Apoptosis and Programmed Cell Death

Fenderson, Bruce A PhD

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 346
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When Cells Die II: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Apoptosis and Programmed Cell Death

Editors: Lockshin, Richard A., Ph.D.; Zakeri, Zahra, Ph.D. Bibliographic Data: (ISBN: 0-471-21947-9, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004, $99.95) 549 pages, hard cover. Subjects: Cell Biology/Histology, Developmental Biology, Immunology.

DESCRIPTION: This book provides a comprehensive review of current research on programmed cell death. The major sections of the book address the biology of apoptosis in development, the biochemical mechanisms of programmed cell death, and the role of abnormal regulation of apoptosis in human disease. The editors state that they have tried to ‘provide both a background to the subject and an introduction to the most interesting new areas in the field.‘ The book includes 19 chapters on subjects ranging from immune regulation to organization of the nervous system. Fascinating results are presented concerning the role of pro-apoptotic biochemical pathways in the pathogenesis of myocardial infarction. The principal focus of each chapter is on cell biology and biochemistry.

PURPOSE: The goal of the editors is to provide investigators with background information and key references necessary to conduct research in this field. The contributions are well-written and the references are up-to-date. The chapters provide interesting historical context and definitions of key terms, as well as a critical review of the literature.

AUDIENCE: This book is written for basic science and clinical researchers in biochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, and oncology. Graduate students, medical students, research fellows, and established investigators will enjoy reading this book to broaden their horizons and gain access to the literature. Basic science educators will find this book useful for introducing new research findings regarding cellular senescence, necrosis, and apoptosis to their curriculum. The authors are experts in their field.

FEATURES: This compact, hard cover book includes color plates and expert technical writing. Chapters include line drawings, photomicrographs, and an extensive bibliography. The diversity of topics will capture the attention of a wide audience of readers.

ASSESSMENT: This book is thoughtfully edited and readable. The book illustrates the importance of apoptosis in development, homeostasis, and human disease. I particularly enjoyed reading about the relationship between necrosis and apoptosis. The distinctions between these pathways of cell death are still debated and are apparently not as clear as we once thought. The authors provide up-to-date information on pharmacogenetics, gene therapy, and clinical application. I would have preferred to see additional figures and diagrams to help illustrate key points for non-experts. The wide range of topics make this book an important contribution to the literature.

SCORE: Weighted Numerical Score: 80

Reviewed by: Bruce A Fenderson, Ph.D.

(Thomas Jefferson University)

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©2005The American College of Sports Medicine