Description: This multiauthored handbook is the third volume in a series that describes the characteristics of numerous individual human cytokines. The first and second volumes, published in 1992 and 1996 respectively, contained descriptions of 45 unique human cytokines. This third volume includes an additional 18 recently discovered cytokines, as well as 6 new receptor ligands. A full chapter is devoted to each cytokine, and most chapters are written by well-regarded experts.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide concise and uniform information about individual human cytokines in a handbook format.
Audience: The book will be a useful reference for both basic and clinical researchers who study biologic processes that include the analysis of cytokine function.
Features: Each chapter describes an individual cytokine within the context of ten individual subheadings, which include nomenclature, sources, inducers and suppressors, bioassay, purification, characterization of the protein, receptors, molecular biology, biologic effects, and potential clinical significance. The individual contributors were apparently given latitude in format, as these subheadings are sometimes omitted or combined in particular chapters. Occasional chapters include one or more unique additional subheadings. The text is supplemented by black-and-white illustrations and tables that vary in quality and style. Unfortunately, many of the tables and figures are split onto more than one page. In addition, the lack of a clear typeset distinction between text, tables, and figure legends makes the text difficult to follow.
Assessment: This book will be an excellent addition to a library containing the first two volumes, and the three volume set will be widely useful to a variety of biomedical scientists. The handbook's merit is partially limited by a lack of consistency regarding the chapter content, as well as the variable quality of the tables and illustrations.