We performed a systematic review to identify all original publications describing the asymmetric inheritance of cellular organelles in normal animal eukaryotic cells and to critique the validity and imprecision of the evidence. Searches were performed in Embase, MEDLINE and Pubmed up to November 2015. Screening of titles, abstracts and full papers was performed by two independent reviewers. Data extraction and validity were performed by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer. Study quality was assessed using the SYRCLE risk of bias tool, for animal studies and by developing validity tools for the experimental model, organelle markers and imprecision. A narrative data synthesis was performed. We identified 31 studies (34 publications) of the asymmetric inheritance of organelles after mitotic or meiotic division. Studies for the asymmetric inheritance of centrosomes (n = 9); endosomes (n = 6), P granules (n = 4), the midbody (n = 3), mitochondria (n = 3), proteosomes (n = 2), spectrosomes (n = 2), cilia (n = 2) and endoplasmic reticulum (n = 2) were identified. Asymmetry was defined and quantified by variable methods. Assessment of the statistical reliability of the results indicated only two studies (7%) were judged to have low concern, the majority of studies (77%) were 'unclear' and five (16%) were judged to have 'high concerns'; the main reasons were low technical repeats (<10). Assessment of model validity indicated that the majority of studies (61%) were judged to be valid, ten studies (32%) were unclear and two studies (7%) were judged to have 'high concerns'; both described 'stem cells' without providing experimental evidence to confirm this (pluripotency and self-renewal). Assessment of marker validity indicated that no studies had low concern, most studies were unclear (96.5%), indicating there were insufficient details to judge if the markers were appropriate. One study had high concern for marker validity due to the contradictory results of two markers for the same organelle. For most studies the validity and imprecision of results could not be confirmed. In particular, data were limited due to a lack of reporting of interassay variability, sample size calculations, controls and functional validation of organelle markers. An evaluation of 16 systematic reviews containing cell assays found that only 50% reported adherence to PRISMA or ARRIVE reporting guidelines and 38% reported a formal risk of bias assessment. 44% of the reviews did not consider how relevant or valid the models were to the research question. 75% reviews did not consider how valid the markers were. 69% of reviews did not consider the impact of the statistical reliability of the results. Future systematic reviews in basic or preclinical research should ensure the rigorous reporting of the statistical reliability of the results in addition to the validity of the methods. Increased awareness of the importance of reporting guidelines and validation tools is needed for the scientific community.
Bibliographical note©2017 Collins et al.
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