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Cytokines and Chemokines in Infectious Diseases Handbook
  1. J Kerr

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    Kotb M, Calandra T. ($145.00) Humana Press, 2003. ISBN 0 89603 908 0.

    Cytokines are soluble protein molecules that facilitate communication between cells of the immune system, and as such, orchestrate immune responses required to eliminate or localise invading infectious agents. Therefore, these molecules have obvious relevance to the study of infectious disease.

    This book is divided into sections on cytokines in infectious disease, Gram negative infection, Gram positive infection, mycobacterial infection, other bacterial infection, fungal infection, parasitic infection, viral infection, cytokines as therapeutic agents in infectious disease, and anticytokine based therapy in treatment of infectious disease.

    Certain chapters contain comprehensive information that is well presented, such as that on cytokine patterns in severe invasive group A streptococcal infections. However, others are superficial and inadequate, such as that on cytokine gene polymorphisms and host susceptibility to infection. This chapter contains sections on tumour necrosis factor α, interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-1ra and other cytokines. However, the possibilities for a chapter on this topic are extensive and should also include sections on at least interferon γ (IFNγ) and IL-10.

    The section on cytokines in viral infections is superficial, with chapters only on viroceptors, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and viral hepatitis. Chapters one might expect in this section would be those on Epstein-Barr virus induced cytokines and the relevance of this to diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus and the relevance of its IL-6 homologue to lymphoma, etc, etc. It seems odd to have a section on cytokines in viral infection and then to consider only three examples.

    The section on cytokines as therapeutic agents in infectious disease contains chapters on IFNγ, IL-2 for HIV, and the use of granulocyte colony stimulating factor/granulocyte–macrophage stimulating factor. The section on anticytokines as treatment considers only septic shock, streptococcal toxic shock, and necrotising fasciitis.

    Although the book could be very useful in some contexts, such as sepsis and HIV, it lacks overall depth and clarity of structure and remit.