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Book Review Methods of Immunological Analysis.

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BOOKS
hoped that this English edition will be as
well received internationally as the original version has been in the Germanspeaking world.
Huns Reuter
Institut fur Anorganische Chemie
der Universitat Osnabruck (FRG)
Methods of Immunological Analysis.
VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/
VCH Publishers, New York, 1993.
Vol. 1 : Fundamentals. Edited by R. f;:
Musseyc$f,
W H.
Albert
and
N . A . Stuincs. 715 pp., hardcover
DM 410.00, $265.00.--ISBN 3-52727906-7/0-89573-902-X; Vol. 2: Samples and Reagents. Edited by K H .
Albert and N . A . Stuines. 591 pp.,
hardcover DM 410.00, $265.00.ISBN 3-527-27907-510-89573-903-8;
Vol. 3: Cells and Tissues. Edited by
R . E M u s s ~ ~ j ~ eW.
f f , H . Albert and
N . A . Stuines. 603 pp., hardcover
DM 410.00, $265.00.-ISBN 3-52727908-310-89573-904-6
This is a very comprehensive work with
an excellent arrangement of the contents.
In view of the rapid developments occurring in immunochemistry, this three-volume set appears at just the right time. In
Volume 1 the basic concepts of immunological analysis are explained, and the
most important and well-established
methods are described in detail. The chapter entitled “Molecular Basis of AntigenAntibody Reactions” is especially good,
giving a concise but thoroughly comprehensive account of the state of knowledge
up to the beginning of 1991. As well as
structural aspects of antigen-antibody
reactions, the kinetics and thermodynamics of such reactions are discussed in detail. Another important quantity in relation to antigen -antibody reactions is the
cross-reactivity, which is discussed using
the example of the steroid ring skeleton.
This chapter ends with a very nice contribution on “Factors Modulating Antigenicity”. The chapters on “Methods Using Labeled Reagents” and “Labels and
their Measurement” give an up-@-date
survey of important reagents (tracers) and
the methods for detecting them. These
chapters are indispensable for choosing a
suitable detection system. The discussion
here is soundly based and thorough, and
includes structural formulas.
Volume 2 describes the preparation and
characterization of reagents used in immunological analysis. As well as explaining the theory of the methods, the chapters include practical advice on carrying
them out and suggestions for overcoming
problems, showing that the authors have
much experience in everyday laboratory
practice. Sections 4.1 to 4.5, devoted entirely to antibodies, deserve a special mention. With over 280 pages these are practically a book in themselves, containing
detailed treatments of the advantages and
disadvantages of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies, the modification of antibodies, and antibodies with special
properties, e.g. catalytic antibodies.
Chapter 5 is concerned with chemical coupling and derivatization methods, which
are indispensable for applications in immunochemistry. The various methods are
described in a clear and easily understandable way, with selected examples of laboratory procedures based on different
chemical approaches. However, some of
the most elegant coupling methods that
have been reported in the literature are
not mentioned. Also the importance of
immunoaffinity columns and the methods
for preparing them are not given enough
emphasis.
Volume 3 gives a comprehensive overview of immunological methods for the
analysis of cells and tissues. Tn addition
considerable space is devoted to cell
preparation and cell culture, which are
very important as preliminaries to the
analysis of cells and tissues. The first
90 pages contain very detailed descriptions of the isolation of cells and tissues,
which even relatively inexperienced users
should be capable of following without
difficulty. The main emphasis is on human cell systems, but adequate attention
is also given to experimental animal and
plant systems. Some basic principles of
cell culture for the types of cell systems
mentioned above are then explained, with
careful distinctions according to the different systems. The chapter on “Methods
of Phenotype Analysis” (over 180 pp.) is
especially useful, covering all aspects of
immunocytochemistry from general principles to detailed laboratory methods. often giving several alternatives and including references. Everyone acquainted with
such methods knows that it is necessary to
vary a large number of experimental
parameters to arrive at conditions giving
the best results. Surprisingly. some important new detection methods based on immunohistochemical and. most notably,
immunofluorescence techniques, which
are also capable of yielding quantitative
information at the single cell level (e.g.
through the distribution of damage in
D N A ) , are not covered. This is an area
which should definitely be included in the
next edition.
To sum up, this is a work that will be of
value throughout the field of immunological analysis. It includes a wealth of references covering the period up to the beginning of 1991, and thus serves as a guide to
the original literature. This series of volumes will be essential for every laboratory
concerned with immunochemistry.
Kurl-Hi%i; Gliiscnkmnp
Institut fur Zellbiologie
der Universitat-Gesamthochschule
Essen (FRG)
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