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While numerous in vivo experiments have sought to explore the effects of sex chromosome composition and sex steroid hormones on cellular proliferation and differentiation within the mammalian brain, far fewer studies as reviewed here, have explored these factors using a direct in vitro approach. Generally speaking, in vivo studies provide the gold standard to demonstrate applicable findings in regards to the role hormones play in development. However, in the case of neural stem cell (NSC) biology, there remain many unknown factors that likely contribute to observations made within the developed brain, specifically in regions where there are abundant sex steroid hormone receptors. For these reasons, using a NSC in vitro model may provide a more controlled and refined system to explore the direct effects of sex and hormone response, limiting the vast array of other influences on NSCs occurring during development and within adult cellular niches. These specific cellular models may have the ability to greatly improve the mechanistic understanding of changes occurring within the developing brain during the hormonal organization process, in addition to other modifications that may contribute to neuro-psychiatric sex-biased diseases.
Bramble, M. S., Vashist, N., & Vilain, E. (2019, May 30). Sex steroid hormone modulation of neural stem cells: A critical review. Biology of Sex Differences. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13293-019-0242-x