Cultured cells are used by preclinical researchers to identify biological mechanisms, pathways, and processes that form the basis for the development of new interventions that are eventually used in humans. There are many similarities in cells derived from both sexes especially in architecture or function and this has led to an assumption that the sex of the cell does not matter. Many researchers do not even know the sex of the cells they use or feel that it is irrelevant. A recent study in AJP-Cell Physiology reported that 75% of their recent publications did not discuss the cell lines used in their investigations. However, cells do have a sex and their chromosomal, hormonal and structural differences may translate into altered function, and that discovery of sex differences at the basic level will ultimately save time and money in later clinical trials and drug development. Now that the NIH recognizes the importance of sex variables in the design of cell, animal and human research, there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way basic scientists work. This web page provides some tools for understanding and incorporating sex as variable in cell research.
Rationale for including sex in cell and tissue research:
- Video Broadcast of October 2014 NIH Workshop on Biological Variable Sex in Preclinical Research
- The Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD)
- NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)
Tools for Cell and Tissue Studies
- Northwestern Shared Core Facilities provide a variety of sophisticated laboratory procedures for basic scientists that can be used to explore sex differences. A list of these cores can be found HERE.
- First steps for integrating sex and gender considerations into basic experimental biomedical research
- Stem Cells: Analyzing Sex - Courtesy of Stanford's Gendered Innovations
- Tissue and Cell Check List - Gendered Innovations
- Insufficient sex description of cells supplied by commercial vendors
Cell Research Tools by Disease
- Skin Disease Research Core Center (SDRC) at Northwestern University
- Strategies and Methods to study sex differences in cardiovascular structure and function: A guide for basic scientists