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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Louis H. Philipson, MD, PhD (University of Chicago Medical Center)
Description: This book is the second of a new two-part series designed to address current topics in the molecular biology of insulin secretion and etiology of diabetes mellitus (Part I) and insulin action (Part II).
Purpose: The distinguished editors have chosen twenty-six principal scientists and seventy total contributors to review what insulin does and how it does it. Topics include structure-function aspects of the insulin receptor, pathways of insulin signaling, and insulin-regulated glucose transport. The chapters reflect the great recent progress in these areas, but inevitably some chapters are already out of date. For example, several essays concern the IRS-1 insulin receptor substrate, but more recent gene knockout studies have shown it to be only part of a redundant system.
Audience: Chapters vary widely in their scope and comprehensiveness. Several are excellent reviews or highly methods-oriented, and clearly targeted for the student or postdoctoral student. Other chapters address a single controversy from a personal point of view.
Features: A few chapters are underillustrated with line drawings or autoradiograms, some poorly reproduced, that are difficult to interpret. Some chapters seem out of sequence. For example, the book opens with a comprehensive review of insulin-receptor mutations and then proceeds to a review of structure-function relationships, rather than the other way around, requiring redundancy. Several chapters on other receptors related to the insulin receptor appear misplaced in a book focused on diabetes, as does a chapter on chiroinositol that contains nothing related to molecular biology in the conventional sense. The book ends with five authoritative reviews of insulin-sensitive glucose transporters, presenting a great deal of overlapping material.
Assessment: This volume contains several excellent chapters, providing a comprehensive overview for the postdoctoral student or colleague in a related field needing a thorough update on insulin action.