Metabolism at a Glance 4th Edition
The ‘At a Glance’ format of two‐page spreads for each topic imposes on the author the discipline of brevity. This fourth edition includes a general updating of new concepts in metabolism plus extensive revision of the chapters on carbohydrate and fatty acid/triacylglycerol metabolism to include glyceroneogenesis. The biosynthesis of cholesterol in health and disease has been extensively revised, and the topic of sports science is extended by reference to the hyper‐athletic performance of the ‘supermouse’. Although there is an excellent monograph on substrate chanelling by Agius and Sherratt (see Chapter 52), this chronically neglected subject has received further emphasis by including a new chapter on the extraordinary molecular production‐line process of fatty acid synthesis. When I was a young biochemist I was invited by a paediatrician at one hour’s notice to provide a review at a clinical meeting on the subject of phytanic acid metabolism to precede his report on a patient with Refsum’s disease. I was unfamiliar with the topic and bamboozled by the complexity of phytanic acid metabolism. To my shame I invented an excuse to decline the invitation. I am pleased to say this edition includes chapters on the α‐ and ω‐ oxidation of branched chain fatty acids which will help others faced with this challenge. Sir Hans Krebs is well known for his work on the citric acid cycle and the urea cycle, and is less well known for his contribution to theglyoxylate cycle. However, there is a fourth Krebs cycle that has been almost completely neglected by text books. This is the Krebs uric acid cycle for the disposal of nitrogenous waste in uricotelic animals and is featured in a new chapter in this edition.
The format allows the book to be used by students of medicine, veterinary science and the biomedical sciences. It will also serve postgraduates, researchers and practising specialists in the fields of diabetes, metabolic disorders, chemical pathology and sports science. However, readers new to biochemistry will need to cherry‐pick the information appropriate to their level of study with guidance from their course notes. I have also written a companion book in this series, Medical Biochemistry at a Glance, which provides a basic introduction to metabolism and biochemistry that might be more accessible to readers unfamiliar with this subject. Finally, to those who say that metabolism is hopelessly complicated: the important thing is not to be overwhelmed by information but to treat metabolic maps just as you would any road map or plan of the underground rail network and simply select the information needed for your specific purpose.
J. G. Salway
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