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Table 3 Guidance for reporting of in vitro studies and methodologies

From: Minimum Information and Quality Standards for Conducting, Reporting, and Organizing In Vitro Research

Ethical statement An ethical statement should indicate the ethical review process and permissions for any materials derived from human volunteers, including appropriate privacy assurances
Experimental procedures Experimental procedures should follow MI guidelines wherever such exist. Where nonexistent, the method details given must be sufficient to reproduce the work. Parameters to consider include buffer (e.g., cell culture medium) and lysis (e.g., for cell-based studies) conditions, sample preparation and handling, volumes, concentrations, temperatures, and incubation times. Complex procedures may require a flow diagram, and novel equipment may require a picture
Materials Commercial materials (cells, antibodies, enzymes or other proteins, nucleic acids, chemicals) should include the vendor, catalogue number, and lot number. Non-commercially sourced materials should include the quality control analyses performed to validate their identity, purity, biological activity, etc. (e.g., sequencing to confirm the correct sequence of cDNA plasmids). Similar analyses should be performed on commercial material where not supplied by the vendor, in a manner appropriate to its intended purpose
Recombinant proteins The source of producing recombinant proteins should be disclosed, including the sequence, expression system, purification, and analyses for purity and bioactivity. Proteins produced from bacteria should be measured for endotoxin prior to any use on live cells (or animals)
Inhibitors and compounds For inhibitors and chemical compounds, it should be stated whether or not specificity screenings to identify potential off-target effects have been performed
Cell lines The method for purifying or preparing primary cells should be stated clearly. Cell lines should have their identity verified as described in Sect. 4.2 above, and cross-contamination should be checked regularly. Furthermore, routine testing should be performed for successful control of mycoplasma contamination. The passage number should be given, as over-passaging of cells can potentially lead to experimental artifacts. Alternatively, purchasing fresh cells for a set of experiments from a recognized animal cell culture repository (such as the American Type Culture Collection, Manassas, Virginia, or the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures) may be an attractive option from both a logistic and cost perspective. Where studies monitor functional changes in live cells, results should be interpreted in respect to parallel viability/cytotoxicity measurements, particularly where a loss of function is observed
Antibodies The specificity and possible cross-reactivity of each antibody used need to be controlled. This applies to internally generated as well as commercially available antibodies. Relevant procedures to validate an antibody for a specific method or technique are given in Table 2. Details about performed experiments to investigate antibody specificity should be described
Study design The size of experimental and control groups should be indicated, and it should distinguish between biological and technical replicates and between distinct experiments. It should be stated whether or not randomization steps have been used to control for the spatial arrangement of samples (e.g., to avoid technical artifacts when using multi-well microtiter plates) and the order of sample collection and processing (e.g., when there is a circadian rhythm or time-of-day effect)
Statistical analysis The type of statistical analyses should be stated clearly, including the parameter represented by any error bars. In addition, an explicit statement of how many experiments/data points were excluded from analysis and how often experiments were repeated should be included