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Books, Journals, New Media
July 7, 2004


JAMA. 2004;292(1):107-108. doi:10.1001/jama.292.1.107

This is the seventh edition of Dr Brenner's The Kidney, the multiauthored textbook that adorns the shelves of every nephrology section in America and remains widely popular with the few medical students, residents, and fellows who still read books rather than avail themselves of the seemingly inexhaustible resources of the World Wide Web.

It is published in two volumes, comprising a total of 66 chapters written by some 150 contributors. The first section, more than 700 pages, covers in detail all that is known about the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the kidney. Taking, for example, the first chapter, on anatomy, we learn that the glomerular endothelial cell synthesizes nitric oxide and endothelin-1 and has receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). A little later we read about the newly identified proteins of the glomerular filtration barrier, the ZO-1 protein, nephrin, CD2-associated protein, and podocin. We view an excellent scanning electron micrograph of the epithelial foot processes, read about the six isomeric collagen chains in the glomerular basement membrane, and find a detailed description of the cells of the various segments of the renal tubule and their transporters. Then we skim over the chapter on embryogenesis, but not before taking note of the gene responsible for Wilms tumor, the "frizzled" class of cell-surface molecules, and a table listing nine known growth factors and their roles in tubulogenesis.