Gonadal sex and animal experimentation: Perfection vs. 3R principle?

Peter Bie*, Birgit Debrabant


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

27 Downloads (Pure)


Replicability of experimental results and optimal use of experimental animals are everybody's concern. Current efforts towards increased replicability include guidelines and checklists as tools for experimenters, referees, editors and publishers. Guidelines are also provided for appropriate use of animals. To ensure the quality of experimental results, the number of animals must be adequate, that is, sufficiently large, for the purpose of the given experiment. To comply with current ethical recommendations, the use of animals should be reduced as much as possible. Therefore, determination of the number of animals for a given scientific objective includes contrasting considerations. Current guidelines for animal experimentation, notably from the National Institute of Health, mandate (with very few exceptions) inclusion of animals of both sexes in experimental designs statistically powered to address the difference between the two groups. Notably, absence of evidence for sex differences between the organ or system functions under study does not qualify as an exception. Mandatory, equal representation of both sexes raises several questions including ethical ones. Other guidelines, by public regulators and major publishers, do not seem to have a similar selective focus on sex differences. In summary, current concerns about replicability of scientific results are justified. Concomitantly, the knowledge of sex differences also between non-reproductive, non-endocrine organ functions is increasing. In principle, sex matters in any experimental context. However, an indiscriminate demand for inclusion of both sexes in all experimental protocols seems a waste of animals, money and time, violating traditional principles of animal experimentation, particularly that of reduction.

TidsskriftBasic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)111-119
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2020
BegivenhedMechanisms Of VasoDilatation/Endothelium-Dependent Hyperpolarization - Rotterdam, Holland
Varighed: 20. maj 201922. maj 2019


KonferenceMechanisms Of VasoDilatation/Endothelium-Dependent Hyperpolarization


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Gonadal sex and animal experimentation: Perfection vs. 3R principle?'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.