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Edited by Angela Vincent and Gianvito Martino (Pp 160, US$64.00). Published by Springer-Verlag Italia, Milan, 2002. ISBN 88-470-0119-6
Antineuronal antibodies were initially described 40 years ago and since then many autoantibodies have been discovered and characterised. Despite this, there is a limited number of texts devoted to the subject of autoantibodies in neurological diseases. Even less common are books that describe autoantibodies and clinical-immunological associations in a manner useful to both clinicians and investigators. This book fills the void. Although the title evokes a laundry list of antibodies this edition offers an even balance between clinical descriptions, immunological mechanisms, and therapeutic implications. The inevitable overlap of topics in a multiauthored book is kept to minimum. An introductory chapter on techniques used for measuring and evaluating the pathogenic role of autoantibodies will be useful for clinicians not directly involved in laboratory research. Subsequent chapters comprehensively cover disorders of the neuromuscular junction and peripheral nerve and less extensively disorders of the central nervous system associated either with autoantibodies or with other evidence of autoimmunity. Among the latter are chapters on autoantibodies and epilepsy and vasculitis of the central nervous system, topics rarely encountered in other texts. Two chapters on autoimmunity and pregnancy, particularly in association with myasthenia gravis, nicely discuss the effects of immunity on the embryo and newborn. With the exception of disorders associated with antibodies to gangliosides that are not discussed, descriptions of most of the recently described paraneoplastic and non-cancer related autoantibodies, as well as possible pathogenic mechanisms, are up to date and clear. A chapter on the ontogeny of skeletal muscle cells, although well written, is out of place in this text. The book is well edited and illustrated and the references are thorough. The focus of the text is weighted towards disorders of the peripheral nervous system, likely reflecting the more extensive literature on these disorders. Clinicians and basic investigators in neurology and immunology will find this book an excellent resource.
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