Review of the Book

Publication Details

Mechanosensation is one of the oldest and most fundamental mechanisms ways by which a cell can communicate with its environment. It comprises not only the somatosensory modalities such as touch, balance and hearing but also mechanisms to adapt a cell to its osmotic environment, the initiation of volume-regulation, control of cell shape and is critically involved in fundamental processes such as cell locomotion and cell migration. Needless to say, the conversion of a mechanical stimulus into a biological response is one of the must exciting problems in physiology. This book on "Mechanosensitivity in Cells and Tissues" comes timely, is comprehensive and exciting to read. It comprises most of the topics of mechanosensation, from "molecule to disease" and also from a methodological point of view from "bench to bedside". It is written by the world leaders in this field. Already the first part, molecular mechanisms of mechanotransduction, gives an exciting overview on the plethora of molecular tools analysed in the worm C.elegans, one of the best studied model animals. The interested reader should here, complementary, look up exciting studies done on mechanosensation in other model animals such as Drosophila.

The second part of this book, "Mechanosensitivity of heart cells", reviews fundamental and clinical aspects of mechanotransduction in cardiac cells. This part is certainly the most exciting and comprehensive collection of articles in this book, ranging form a review approach to the communication of original data. This part can be considered as kind of a source book for both physiologists and cardiologists. The several aspects of identification, methodological approach, regulation and unravelling of signal transductions cascades for a large variety of different ion channels is a delight to read. Again, the Editors have succeeded to attract the world leaders in this field. It is especially important that not only mechanosensitive properties of ion channels are reported but also the modulation of several ion transporters by mechanostimulation. The conversion of these fundamental achievements into a practical clinical concepts, closing the second part of this book, is again of special importance.

The third part of this book describes a variety of cell types in which mechanosensitivity plays a pivotal role, e.g. skeletal and smooth muscle cells, bone cells, chondrocytes and osmosensing cells. This chapter describes also novel players in the field of mechanosensitivity, under which TRP (transient receptor potential) channels may play an especially important role. Again, this chapter will stimulate the interested reader to look up more recent developments in the area of novel cations TRP channels as mechanosensors.

In conclusion, a very interesting and comprehensive book, timely, a delight to read! One can only congratulate the Editors having succeeded to bring together world leaders in the field of the rapidly progressing field of mechanosensitivity which has resulted in a remarkable book.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Nilius
Professor of Physiology, KU Leuven, Laboratorium voor Fysiologie,
Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven,