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Book Review Leukotrienes and Lipoxygenases. Chemical Biological and Clinical Aspects. (Series Bioactive Molecules Vol. 11). Edited by J

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Thus we now have four books on the subject. The first, by
Pereyre, Quintard and Rahm, which was reviewed by the
unforgettable J. K. Stille (Angew. Chem. 100 (1988) 314;
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 27 (1988) 445), had the misfortune to appear just at the beginning of the phase of most
rapid development (it covered literature up to early 1985).
Important advances occurred soon afterwards, and a thoroughly revised new edition would be welcome.
The book edited by Phil Harrison, covering the literature
up to 1987, has the encyclopedic layout of a classic monograph. It contains good thorough compilations of relevant
material on the spectroscopy, structure, formation and
breakdown of tin compounds, on the basic reactions involving tin, and on its biochemistry, industrial applications, etc.
A great deal of information has been carefully compiled and
critically evaluated with clear figures and tables. Printing
errors are rare, except possibly in the names of authors, e.g.
in the preface (Poller), while on page 17 two references have
become jumbled together under (i), and the name of this
reviewer got lost. The formulas are easily legible, and the
presentation is attractive. The main emphasis is on structural
chemical aspects, in accordance with the interests of the editor. Preparative applications, on the other hand, are relegated to the background. In some places the editor has not
succeeded in fully coordinating the contributions of the
different authors, as often happens in works of this kind,
despite the fact that all are British. For example, overlapping
occurs between Chapter 9 (Radical Chemistry of Tin, A . G.
Davzes)and Chapter 20 (The Uses of Organotin Compounds
L. Wardell), despite the fact that
in Organic Synthesis, .I
these contain only 20 and 43 pages respectively. One could
have wished for both these authors to be given more space,
but it is not obvious to the reviewer where economies
of space could be made elsewhere in the book without a
sacrifice of information that would detract from the encyclopedic value of the book. Thus it is fortunate for readers
interested in preparative aspects (and the number of these
has increased in the last few years) that there also exist the
two other books discussed below.
The book by I. Omae covers the literature up to 1987, and
partly that of 1988. Although it deals with the classical principles of syntheses and reactions involving the tin atom (including, for example, a good treatment of the direct synthesis
of organotin compounds from elemental tin), greater emphasis is put on the important developments of the last few
years, e.g. palladium catalyzed reactions using organotin
reagents are covered in detail. However, aspects that can be
criticized are a degree of unevenness in the treatment, and
some arbitrariness in the choice of topics emphasized. For
example, whereas free radical reactions using R,SnH are
adequately covered in total in Sections 5.3 and 5.4 of Chapter 5 (“Reactions of Organotin Compounds”) and 6.9 of
Chapter 6 (“Organic Synthesis with Organotin Compounds”, meriting a full chapter of 47 pages), intramolecular
coordination in P-carbonylstannanes is given a disproportionately large amount of space in Chapters 3, 6 and 7, despite the fact that a book on this topic by the same author
appeared in the same series of monographs in 1986. This
leads to quite a lot of repetition. In Chapter 6 under aryl
stannanes one fails to find the early electrophilic scission
reactions (studied by C. Eaborn and others) which are the
foundation of modern syntheses. In view of current public
concerns it is surprising not to find the keyword “toxicity”,
even though there are individual mentions of this scattered
through the book, e.g. under “Biological Activities”. Under
environmental aspects the outstanding analytical studies by
F Brinckman deserved to be mentioned. However, these
Angew. Chum. hi.Ed. Engl. 29 (1990)No.9
comments should not be allowed to detract from the author’s achievement in having provided a lucid survey of the
rapidly growing knowledge in this field. The book is mainly
intended for organic, organometallic, pharmaceutical and
industrial chemists involved in research, and is also suitable
for advanced students.
However, the publishers must be reproached for the poor
standard of production at such an inflated price. The presentation of the text in typescript form, unedited and without
any emphases, variations of typography, or bold or italic
type, and the clumsy formulas etc., are not reader-friendly.
The user will find the book reminiscent of a hand-produced
doctoral thesis of 30 years ago. And this in a book which is
also recommended for use by students! Any modern program for printing text and formulas on a standard desk
computer offers better readability than this.
The Tetrahedron Symposium-in-Print edited by Yoshinori
Yamamoto is devoted entirely to the use of organotin compounds in organic synthesis, and covers the literature up to
1988. An excellent treatment of the subject is given, with
original laboratory recipes, under a number of very well
chosen sub-areas. There are 28 articles by expert authors,
most of whom are leading participants in the current rapid
developments in the field. To meet ideal criteria the book
should perhaps also have included contributions by M .
Reetz and G. E. Keck-and from the editor himself! However, this is a very good, timely and relevant report on a
rapidly expanding field.
Which of these books ought one to buy? In most cases two
are needed. No true student textbook is available. Harrison’s
book is the encyclopedia of the subject, but is too short on
detail for organic synthetic purposes. The book by Omae is
better in this respect, but contains less information of a general nature. Yamamoto’s book is aimed especially at synthetic chemists. One must choose according to one’s point of
view and objectives.
Wilhelm Paul Neumann [NB 1064 IE]
Institut fur Organische Chemie
der Universitat Dortmund (FRG)
Leukotrienes and Lipoxygenases. Chemical, Biological and
Clinical Aspects. (Series: Bioactive Molecules, VoI. 11).
Edited by J. Rokach. Elsevier, Amsterdam 1989. xxxii,
518 pp., hardcover, DFl360.00.-ISBN 0-444-87464-X
The importance that the arachidonic acid derivatives have
earned as highly effective, physiologically and pharmacologically active mediators of intercellular communication has
led to the coining of the collective term “eicosanoids”.
Whilst the initial main interest was in the prostaglandins, the
new eicosanoid research has shifted to the area of lipoxygenases and leukotrienes. The elucidation of their chemical
structures and the biochemical characterization of their
biosynthesis and mode of action provided the key for the
development of inhibitors for which high hopes are held out,
since the lipoxygenase products are involved in the activation of the immune system. Pioneering studies have mainly
been carried out by three groups (Harvard, Quebec and
Stockholm). Of their publications, this one by J. Rokach
(Merck Frosst, Canada), in Volume 11 of the “Bioactive
Molecules” series, has attempted to collect and critically review all the information obtained to date.
This first attempt at the task has been an outstanding
success. Together with 15 coauthors, Rokach has systematically brought together all aspects of this material, from
Vurlagsgesellscha~mbH, D-6940 Weinheim. 1990
S3.50f .25/0
chemical to medical. The main emphasis is on the structural
elucidation and chemical syntheses of the lipoxygenase products, tasks which have proved very demanding due to the
complex stereochemistry. The many structural formula
schemes that are needed are clearly set out, and for the essential syntheses are almost of textbook style, being additionally
provided with literature references. A second strong point of
the book i s the full explanation of the analytical methods,
which spares the newcomer in this area from the troublesome
study of the primary literature. The biochemistry, pharmacology and pathophysiology of the leukotrienes are also discussed in the light of the latest knowledge. Evidence that the
area i s still scientifically expanding is apparent from the
chapter by Ford-Hutchinson, in which only fifteen pages are
devoted to the association of the Ieukotrienes with various
illnesses, even though the conditions covered, in which
leukotrienes are responsible for many symptoms, include
inflammations, asthma, allergies, shock and cardiovascular
diseases. A chapter about inhibitors and antagonist receptors is modestly placed at the end of the book. It does not yet
include the success of the Merck-Frosst group, who have
discovered the most promising 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor to
date, which operates by a new principle and is likely to replace the antioxidant type inhibitors that were previously
tested. This has demonstrated at the same time how broadlystructured chemical and pharmacological research has consistently led to results both for clinical practice and biochemical theory. When in addition such a book results as a
spin-off, both the company and the authors should be equally congratulated.
As this is the first book of its kind on the subject, and
against the background of the increasing importance of the
leukotrienes in pathophysiology, it is indispensible for researchers in medicine. The book is typographically excellent,
but its price (DM 360.-) means that students of chemistry,
pharmacy, medicine or biochemistry must be satisfied with
only borrowing it.
Volker Ullrich [NB 1088 IE]
Fakultat fiir Biologie
der Universitat Konstanz (FRG)
Transition Metal Oxides: Surface Chemistry and Catalysis.
(Series: Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis, Vol. 45).
By H. H. Kung. Elsevier, Amsterdam 1989. x, 282 pp.,
hardcover, DFI 21 5.00.-1SBN 0-444-87394-5
At a time when transition metal oxides are becoming increasingly important, especially in high technology applications such as superconductors, high performance ceramics,
microelectronics and sensors, this book on one of the longerestablished applications of these oxides is particularly welcome. Harold H . Kung here deals with the heterogeneous
catalysis and surface chemistry of transition metal oxides, a
field in which he has been engaged for many years. The
amount of fundamental research that has been carried out in
this area during the last two decades is so large that to cover
every aspect would appear impossible. This book restricts
itself to new developments in the preparation and characterization of catalysts, their reaction mechanisms and catalytic
functions, and a limited selection of reactions. Thermodynamic and kinetic aspects are not treated.
Following a short introduction (Chapter 3 and part of
Chapter 2), the author continues Chapter 2 with a discussion
of the structures of metal oxides. Chapter 3 deals with the
physical and electronic properties of metal oxides and their
V C H Verlaggesellschajt m h H . 0-6940 Weinhelm. 1990
surfaces. The actual charges on the metal ions in the oxides
can show considerable differences from those corresponding
to their formal oxidation states. A discussion of the importance of the electronic structure at the surface in relation to
catalysis leads into the next chapter, which highlights the
role of coordinative unsaturation at the surface. Kung points
out that most studies up to now have been concerned with
the electronic structure of clean surfaces, and relatively little
is known about the interaction of these surfaces with adsorbed molecules.
The following chapter discusses how the free coordination
sites of the surface metal ions depend on the orientation of
the surface and on the extent of dehydration. The possibilities for coordinative, dissociative, reductive or abstractive
adsorption are explained, taking as examples small
molecules such as H,, CO, NO, and alkenes.
An important characteristic for heterogeneous catalysis
by metal oxides is the surface acidity due to Lewis and
Brcansted sites. For adsorbed molecules on metal oxide surfaces the acidity scale for their aqueous solutions can be
used. Many mixed metal oxides have strongly acidic surface
sites and detailed studies of such materials are described.
Methods for the qualitative and quantitative characterization of surface acidity, such as pyridine and ammonia adsorption measurements, determination of the isoelectric
point, or the use of indicators, are discussed.
Chapter 6 deals with the reduction of metal oxides, an
important pretreatment process for their use as catalysts. In
many cases the catalytically active sites are not formed until
the surface reduction is carried out. Here it is argued that this
involves not only the generation of free coordination sites by
reductive removal of surface oxygen atoms, but also a cooperative effect between the metallic and oxide regions of the
surface. The effect of the support material on the reducibility
of the surface i s also discussed. However, the picture given
here is not fully up-to-date, since much new knowledge has
been gained on this subject in the last four years (e.g. the
concept of “strong metal support interaction”, SMSI).
Chapter 7 describes the characterization of the various
oxygen species and their reactivities at metal oxide surfaces;
regrettably, however, there i s no corresponding chapter on
hydrogen species.
The description of the constitutions and structures of oxide catalysts and their surfaces concludes with Chapter 8,
which deals with the preparation of metal oxide catalysts.
The different preparative methods are summarized at the
beginning of the chapter, and the influence of the choice of
method on the activity and morphology of the catalysts is
clearly and concisely described. Catalysts consisting of a single component, mixed catalysts and supported catalysts are
each discussed separately. However, the micro-, meso- and
macroscopic pore distribution in these metal oxide catalysts,
which are often of crucial importance to the activity and
stability of the catalyst, are not mentioned. The remaining
chapters are concerned with a number of reactions that are
catalyzed by transition metal oxides.
The catalysts mainly used for the metathesis of olefins are
reduced oxides of Mo, W and Re, while the isomerization of
olefins is catalyzed by a wide variety of metal oxides through
cationic and anionic mechanisms.
For the dehydrogenation and dehydration of alcohols the
most common catalysts are oxides of Zn, Cr, Cu, Ti and Ni.
The decomposition of N,O and the reduction of NO are
catalyzed by many different metal oxides. This chapter also
includes accounts of some relatively old and frequently cited
results on hydrogenation and H/D exchange in hydrocarbons on oxide catalysts.
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Angen. Chrm. In!. Ed Engl 29 (1990)No. 9
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