Bernard Robaire, Ph.D. and Barry T. Hinton, Ph.D. New York,
Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 575 pages, 2002.
goal of the editors of this text was to develop a comprehensive reference volume
regarding the epididymis. They aimed to incorporate all aspects of epididymal
biology, including historical background, basic cellular and molecular biology,
and clinical issues. The authors have succeeded in developing a text that is
broad in scope yet thorough in content. Each chapter is written by expert
authors, providing what in aggregate is perhaps the most comprehensive text
available regarding the excurrent ductal system.
The first section
provides appropriate background, including a historical look at the biology of
the excurrent ductal system, evolutionary issues, and a description of the
The second section is comprised of a
series of scientific chapters detailing epididymal epithelial function. These
chapters are exceptionally well-written. The accompanying illustrations and
photomicrographs are of high quality and aide the reader in navigating this
section of the text. Subsequent sections address development, aging, hormonal
regulation, and effects of toxicants.
The fifth section consists of
a series of chapters addressing spermatozoal changes during epididymal transit.
Specific topics detailed include: structural differentiation during
post-testicular maturation, plasma membrane composition changes, and acquisition
of sperm motility. These reviews are highly technical and collectively serve as
an outstanding reference on the subject of post-testicular sperm maturation.
The final series of chapters provide a contemporary overview of
"clinical considerations." The clinical issues addressed
include management of epididymal dysfunction, impact of obstruction on the
epididymis, the epididymis as a target for male contraception, inflammatory
conditions of the excurrent ductal system, and cancer of the epididymis. The
authors selected for this section are renowned experts, and these chapters as a
group are outstanding. The accompanying illustrations and photomicrographs are
clear. A more comprehensive overview of sperm extraction techniques and
microsurgical reconstruction (vasosvasostomy and epididymovasostomy) would be of
significant benefit. I suspect that these may come with subsequent editions, in
particular given recent data regarding outcomes with the intussuscepted
technique for epididymovasostomy.
In summary, this text has no major
flaws. It is an outstanding resource and may indeed be the most comprehensive
and contemporary reference regarding the excurrent ductal system in print at