ISSN 1062-3604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2006, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 127. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.
Original Russian Text © L.V. Beloussov, 2006, published in Ontogenez, 2006, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 157.
The belief has recently been grown that for solving
fundamental problems of cell and developmental biol-
ogy it is not necessary to split the object under study
into smallest structural units. On the contrary, the fac-
tors decisive for development and cell differentiation
may be related to a great extent to relatively high levels
of organization. The book by G.A Savost’yanov is
interesting in that the author draws our attention to one
of such half-forgotten levels located in an interval
between the levels of multicellular tissue and individual
cells. Here, we are dealing with geometrical and topo-
logical patterns of mutual arrangement of the cells, pre-
dominantly, in the epithelial layers. The author devel-
ops a module concept of organization of the multicellu-
lar layers and proposes an idea of elementary cells
groups, which he calls histions and which represent an
“independent and so far overlooked level of biological
organization” (p. 6).
The author’s approach is related to the crystallo-
graphic approach. The book provides a classiﬁcation
(“periodical system”) of histions for two- and three-
dimensional tissues in comparison with the facts and
recommendations are given for computer simulation of
tissue structures. Changes in the structure of histions,
including the “phase transitions,” during development
and in cases of pathologies have been described in
detail. The author gives also his original views on fac-
tors of formation of the histions during evolution. These
statements may be a subject of discussion.
But in any case, the book by G.A. Savost’yanov is
valuable by the abundance of facts and their careful
geometrotopological analysis. It can be of interest to a
wide circle of histologists, cytologists, and develop-
mental biologists and can also be used for teaching.
Moscow State University
G.A. Savost’yanov, “Foundations of Structural Histology.
Spatial Organization of Epithelia,” St. Petersburg: Nauka, 2005