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Cardiovasc Res. 2017 Jun 1;113(7):711-724. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvx066.

Sex in basic research: concepts in the cardiovascular field.

Author information

1
Signalisation et Physiopathologie Cardiovasculaire UMR-S 1180, Inserm, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, 92296 Châtenay-Malabry, France.
2
Institute of Gender in Medicine and Center for Cardiovascular Research, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany.
3
German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner Site Berlin, Germany.
4
Faculté Médecine Toulouse-Rangueil, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
5
Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.
6
College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ Edinburgh, UK.
7
Institut für Kardiogenetik, Universität zu Lübeck, 23562 Lübeck, Germany.
8
German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner Site Hamburg/Kiel/Lübeck, Germany.
9
Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sassari,Sassari, Italy.
10
Ricercatore TD in Endocrinologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale, Sezione di Fisiopatologia Medica, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy.
11
International Society for Gender Medicine, Research Center for Medicine, Rabin Medical Center, and Tel Aviv University, Israel.
12
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Klinikum der LMU München, Munich 80336, Germany; Institute for Diabetes and Regeneration, Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany; German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) München-Neuherberg, Germany.
13
BDR Biologie du Développement et Reproduction Developmental Biology and Reproduction UMR, INRA, France.
14
Section of Gender Medicine, Department of General Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, 162-8666 Tokyo, Japan.
15
Centre for Gender Medicine and Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Renal Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 14186 Stockholm, Sweden.
16
Institut für Medizinische Biometrie und Statistik, Universität zu Lübeck, 235620 Lübeck, Germany.
17
Institute for Preclinical Sciences, Veterinary Faculty, University of Ljubljana & Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia.
18
National Center for Gender-Specific Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Roma, Italy.
19
Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft (MDC), Berlin, Germany.
20
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
21
Center for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, EH16 4TJ Edinburgh, UK.
22
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.
23
Institute of Gender and Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada.
24
Medicinal Chemistry DIFARMA, Università di Salerno, 84084 Fisciano, Italy.

Abstract

Women and men, female and male animals and cells are biologically different, and acknowledgement of this fact is critical to advancing medicine. However, incorporating concepts of sex-specific analysis in basic research is largely neglected, introducing bias into translational findings, clinical concepts and drug development. Research funding agencies recently approached these issues but implementation of policy changes in the scientific community is still limited, probably due to deficits in concepts, knowledge and proper methodology. This expert review is based on the EUGenMed project (www.eugenmed.eu) developing a roadmap for implementing sex and gender in biomedical and health research. For sake of clarity and conciseness, examples are mainly taken from the cardiovascular field that may serve as a paradigm for others, since a significant amount of knowledge how sex and oestrogen determine the manifestation of many cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has been accumulated. As main concepts for implementation of sex in basic research, the study of primary cell and animals of both sexes, the study of the influence of genetic vs. hormonal factors and the analysis of sex chromosomes and sex specific statistics in genome wide association studies (GWAS) are discussed. The review also discusses methodological issues, and analyses strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in implementing sex-sensitive aspects into basic research.

KEYWORDS:

Animal models; Basic research; Cardiac cell models; Chromosomes; Hormones; Sex

PMID:
28472454
DOI:
10.1093/cvr/cvx066
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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