The idea that sex sells is generally accepted as fact. The idea that the sex of cells is important to biomedical research is not as well-known, but an article co-written by a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, suggests that the sex of individual cells matters.
The sex of a cell is determined by the presence of sex chromosomes: every cell can be categorized as either male or female. The significance of a cell’s sex is a concept that has been generally overlooked by the research community, but there is now a growing body of evidence that has some researchers examining important implications.”
“Male cells have an X and a Y chromosome, while female cells have two X chromosomes,” said Cathy Fuller, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology at UAB. “There is now good reason to consider that studies conducted in male cells will produce results different from those of identical studies using female cell lines. This could have a profound effect on fields such as personalized medicine.”
This month, Fuller, along with colleague Paul Insel, Ph.D., of the departments of Pharmacology and Medicine at the University of California-San Diego, published an editorial in the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology called “I Don’t Know the Question, but Sex is Definitely the Answer!” The editorial comes on the heels of a 2012 decision by the American Physiology Society to require authors to report the sex of the cells lines, biological materials and animals used in their experiments.
Fuller and Insel looked at two articles published in AJP-Cell and one in Nature that laid out the reasons that the APS decision to disclose the sex of cell lines was essential. They wrote that the lessons learned from these articles suggest the APS policy could have an important effect on patient care.
“We have assumed that cells bearing an XY genotype behave the same as cells that are XX, but we don’t really know if that is correct,” said Fuller. “Do T-84 cells, derived from a male colon cancer patient, behave the same as Ht-29 colon cancer cells, derived from a female? And will a colon cancer drug tested in one cell line work in the same fashion in all patients?”
An additional complication, according to Fuller, is that many cell lines frequently used in research are old — some have been around for more than 50 years — and some supposedly male lines have lost the Y chromosome through the many repetitive cell culture cycles.
“As we move closer to the concept of personalized medicine, where drugs and therapies can be tailored for the individual patient, we will need a more complete understanding of the physiology of that patient down to the cellular level,” Fuller said. “A drug that was tested in a cell line without a Y chromosome might not work as well in a patient who does have Y chromosomes. This could help explain why certain drugs work better in some patients than in others.”
Fuller says investigators working on developing drugs such as small molecules and biologics will need to consider that sex differences may underlie differences in responsiveness of different cells used in high-throughput screens, as well as considering the sex of the patient group to whom the drugs are targeted. Sex differences will be particularly important in stem cell-based therapies, such that the sex of both the donor and the recipient should be considered.
She also suspects that other scientific journals will follow suit and require investigators to identify the sex of their cell lines. The good news is that the sex of many of the major cell lines currently in use is known and that information is available to researchers.
NIH awards nearly $34 million to UAB Center for Clinical and Translational ScienceThis renewing of UAB’s prestigious Center for Translational Science Award will bolster research and workforce development at UAB and throughout its regional partner network in the Southeast.posted 7 days ago 3654 viewsUAB names McMahon dean of Graduate SchoolLori McMahon, Ph.D., will enrich excellence and innovation in graduate education through professional and career-development initiatives and lead collaborative efforts for recruitment and outreach with various academic units to attract highly qualified students.posted 7 days ago 4149 viewsUAB alumna Lindsey Harris named Advanced Practice Nurse of the YearHarris, who was recognized for her excellence in the clinical area of the advanced practice level, earned her master’s from UAB in 2011.posted 8 days ago 1093 viewsThree UAB Hospital nurses recognized for excellence by AACNThe AACN recognizes the excellence of nurses as a professional organization and the contributions of nurses that help optimize patient outcomes annually.posted 9 days ago 1085 viewsUAB School of Nursing named top value master’s program in U.S.The website says UAB finds the right balance between quality and affordability, without either being sacrificed for the other.posted 9 days ago 1672 viewsAsking the questions others aren’t — UAB School of Public Health planning to maintain successUnder the guidance of Dean Max Michael, M.D., since 2001, the SOPH has identified five areas of focus for the next five years.posted 15 days ago 1778 viewsUAB ranked among the world’s top 150 by Center for World University Rankings
UAB has been ranked among the top 150 universities in the world by the Center for World University Rankings.Community of the South: Donors help stretch UAB Kidney Chain to record 51 transplantsFifty-first transplant means 102 total surgeries have been performed since December 2013 as the nation’s longest-ever chain continues to grow.posted 15 days ago 7983 viewsFrank talk about sex key to improving Americans’ sexual health, says UAB physicianIn JAMA Viewpoint, Edward W. Hook III, M.D., says doctors and patients must be willing to talk about sex if we are to decrease the nation’s rate of sexually transmitted infections.posted 22 days ago 2159 viewsAmerican Academy of Optometry to honor Wendy Marsh-TootleThe former UAB Pediatric Optometry Service director will be recognized during the annual AAO meeting this October in New Orleans.posted 23 days ago 1394 viewsThe last hope: UAB’s Undiagnosed Diseases ProgramUAB’s Undiagnosed Diseases Program is the court of last resort for those with baffling diseases that have never been diagnosed.posted 24 days ago 3343 viewsUAB faculty recognized nationally for biomedical researchSorge honored as a young leader in the field of pain research and neuroscience by national organization.posted a while back 2060 viewsTwo UAB advisors honored at national levelAcademic advisors from the Collat School of Business and College of Arts and Sciences recognized nationally for their contributions to the improvement of advising services.posted a while back 1677 viewsPollocks make list of top nephrology, dialysis professorsUAB professors who developed a new area of translational cardio-renal research are among 15 professors identified as today’s leaders in the field.posted a while back 1486 viewsMolecular study points to possible therapy for autoimmune diseaseThe challenge is to stifle the binding of inhibitory antibodies but retain activity of a blood enzyme.posted a while back 1453 viewsRowe named head of UAB Cystic Fibrosis CenterThe CF clinical trials expert will take the reins of the UAB Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Center on Aug. 1.posted a while back 2394 viewsOcean acidification to lead the way for food chain changesUAB research shows that phytoplankton, the foundation of all marine life, will experience varied growth rates due to ocean acidification levels during the next century.posted a while back 2748 viewsEarly Childhood Special Education professor awarded 1.25 million grant from U.S. Department of Education1.25 million grant will be used to improve services and results for young children with disabilities and their families.posted a while back 2611 viewsBaby JJ scheduled to have second hypoplastic left heart syndrome surgery TuesdayNarrowing of aortic arch, infant’s otherwise good health prompt physicians to move Baby JJ’s Glenn procedure up one month.posted a while back 1830 viewsFirst-of-its-kind tornado panels installed in Montgomery home
A product designed by UAB engineers to help save lives during natural disasters is approved for use.