Atlas of Histology with Functional and Clinical Correlations

by: Dongmei Cui
439 pp, indexed, $69.95

The Atlas of Histology with Functional and Clinical Correlations is an atlas and text attempting to provide basic histology concepts with fairly extensive clinical material. The book follows traditional histology textbook organization by presenting the material in three units: cell structure and function followed by basic tissue types and then organ systems. Each chapter starts with a short narrative giving key concepts of the tissue or organ. Included in this section are schematic diagrams and low magnifcation micrographs to either give an overview of the organ system or illustrate the key concepts of the tissue or organ. This is then followed with detailed atlas of representative micrographs of tissues and organs structures. Included in this segment are selected micrographs of pathology specimens (clinical correlations) and synopses of functional aspects or pathological terms of the tissue or organ.

Many tables summarizing the important features of the tissue or organ are in appropriate locations in the atlas. The legend for each micrograph is quite detailed and provides much of the information covered in the text of most histology books. I found this organization to be quite effective in providing students the skills in recognizing histological structures and understanding the fundamental functions of the histological features. The boxes of tables and synopses effectively summarize the material and are good sources for review.

Several features of the micrograph layout are particularly helpful—the extensive use of schematic drawings to illustrate the features of micrographs, the use of direct labeling on the micrographs, the use of a dotted line to delineate the less obvious features, and the extensive use of insets either to show the enlarged image of important area, to show the cutting plane of a structure, or to indicate the location of the image in reference to the larger structure. While the schematic drawings are sometimes repetitious, all these features greatly enhance the understanding and visual retention of the basic information of histology. These detailed illustrative features are particularly helpful to students learning histology for the frst time.

With the revision of medical school curriculum, more histology textbooks are including clinical features. This book follows this trend by including extensive clinical and pathological materials. However, in contrast to the meticulous detail and step by step approach of presenting the normal histology, the inclusion of pathological material is quite abrupt and introduced at places where basic knowledge of histology has yet to be learned by the students. A case in point is the introduction of pathological terms and low magnifcation micrographs of pathological specimen in the frst chapter of the book. The book starts with a chapter of illustrated glossary of histological and pathological terms before the chapter of introduction of cell structure and function. While the descriptive terms for normal cells are useful for later understanding of tissue and organ system histology, the segment on descriptive terms for abnormal cells and tissues is diffcult for students to absorb without any background of normal histology. Since the vocabulary used to explain the pathological terms is new to the beginning students, it may be more useful to place this material at the end of the book or integrated in later chapters. Similarly, the introduction of specifc diseases in the epithelium chapter can also be deferred to later chapters where specifc organs are discussed when students have more background in basic tissue knowledge.

As mentioned earlier, each chapter also includes synopses that introduce pathological terms relevant to the subject matter of that chapter. Although this is a useful feature, I found some terms included may be more general than specifc to the tissue or organ system of the chapter, and many pathologic terms used in the text or legend are not explained or defned. Overall, most inclusions of pathological material are very helpful in providing background of pathology and most pathological examples are appropriate for the organ system of the chapter. Different from most histology textbooks, this book puts the general concept of tissue preparation and staining at the end as an appendix. An early introduction of this material would be more helpful to the understanding of the histology images introduced in the atlas. Related in this section, I found the introduction of immunocytochemistry is a bit sketchy, since this histological method is used in both research and clinical labs and its usage has diagnostic values.

The images, both light and electron micrographs, are of good quality with the exception of a few immunocytochemically stained images. Additionally, there are minor editorial errors. For example, the legend for Figure 6-8C describes an inset, but there is no inset to be found on this micrograph.
This atlas provides good basic information of histology and functional signifcance of histological structures. There are extensive clinical correlations that in most cases provide some background and terminology for further study of pathology. More consideration of students’ histology background when introducing pathology material would enhance the effectiveness of learning the clinical material. The summary tables and synopsis are good source for review purposes. The E-book could not be reviewed because it was being upgraded at the publisher website at the time of writing this review.


Hue-lee Kaung, Ph.D
Associate Professor Dept. of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve Univ.

March 2011

 ReviewerReview Date
American Association of Anatomists

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