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This book is a worthy addition to the Frontiers of Gastrointestinal Research series that focuses on specialised gastrointestinal research topics. This volume is the 25th of the series and highlights areas of current and emerging interest to investigators in the area of gastrointestinal mucosal injury, repair, and therapeutics.
The book is not a compilation of talks given at a conference but rather an honest attempt to inform about specific research areas within that broad field. It has been a number of years since anyone has gathered the information for a reference book for his area, and the editors have intentionally chosen to invite experts to write on their specialised subjects. The emphasis of the book is on the use of experimental cell culture and animal models and, therefore, will be of most use to basic researchers. The book is divided into three broad sections, covering epithelial restitution, mucosal repair and healing, and experimental therapeutics. The chapter authors have taken care to summarise what is known and what remains to investigate. Several of the chapters provide excellent reviews of a particular area, including those on angiogenesis, the diacylglycerol/protein kinase C pathway, nitric oxide and its regulation, the roles of cyclooxygenase inhibition, and the involvement of prostaglandin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. Other chapters contain useful methodology regarding animal models and experimental techniques such as physical stress and strain. The chapters dealing with cytokines and Helicobacter pylori infection are brief, but these subjects are adequately covered elsewhere in numerous reviews. New and potentially useful therapeutic possibilities are examined, including the use of platelets to deliver healing growth factors, the use of polysaccharides such as heparin for gastrointestinal protection, and gene therapy with angiogenic growth factors.
It is not possible for any book to be complete and inclusive of all subjects in such a diverse field as mucosal repair and therapeutics, but this book does a more than reasonable job. It will be a very useful reference for research newcomers and veterans alike in the field.