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Preferred Spellings and Usage

A

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
acetyl CoA acetyl-CoA (with hyphen)
acetyl-coenzyme A acetyl coenzyme A (no hyphen)
α cell alpha cell
adapter adaptor
African American, Mexican American, etc. African-American, Mexican-American, etc. (include hyphen, not en-dash)
Akaike information criterion Akaike’s information criterion
AKT Akt (this is treated as the protein name, rather than an abbreviation, and does not need to be written in full)
albumin-to-creatinine ratio (or other variations) albumin/creatinine ratio
amido black Amido Black
(amino acid chains) Gly-Lys-Ala
amphetamine (USAN) amfetamine (INN)
anti-diabetic drug glucose-lowering drug or hypoglycaemic drug
anti-oxidant antioxidant
apolipoproteins If using abbreviation, format as
e.g. ApoA-I, ApoB-100 (initial capital)
around [e.g. 3 ml urine] about 3 ml urine

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B

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
base line baseline
B-cell B cell
β cell beta cell (but β OK for chemicals, etc.)
biobreeding (BB) rats BioBreeding (BB) rats
birth weight birthweight
bisulfite bisulphite

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C

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
C or COOH terminal C- or COOH-terminal (hyphen optional with terminus)
C3 C-3 (third carbon atom)
C3 (chain of three carbon atoms)
calorie energy (e.g. low-energy diet, % of energy from fat; note that the abbreviation VLCD [very low calorie diet] is acceptable)
cAMP cyclic AMP (or use cAMP as a defined abbreviation)
CD4+ CD4+
C peptide C-peptide
caesarean Caesarean
case−cohort case-cohort (with hyphen − N-rule is not appropriate as cases fall within the cohort)
case-control case−control (with N-rule)
Chinese Han Han Chinese
chi-square test χ2 test
cholecalciferol vitamin D3
cholesterol ester cholesteryl ester
Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel
Cochran’s Q Cochran’s Q
Coenzyme Q10 Coenzyme Q10
colocalise co-localise
co-morbid comorbid
co-ordinate coordinate
Cox-Mantel Cox–Mantel
cross over crossover
Cross-talk crosstalk
C-statistic C statistic (upper case C, non-italic, no hyphen)
Ct Ct (cycle threshold: upright font)
cytochrome c cytochrome c (c in italics)

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D

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
dark-grey dark grey
data is data are (plural)
data set dataset
day time/day-time daytime [no hyphen]
deuterated 2H-labelled or similar (e.g. 2H2O)
df df
D glucose d-glucose (small cap) (Capital G if at the beginning of a sentence)
DI DI (disposition index)
dietician dietitian
disk for computer disk
DM diabetes mellitus (do not use DM in text. It may be used in the tables and figures with a written-out explanation)
dose dose refers to single amount of a drug
dosage dosage also includes details of the timing
double blinded double-blinded
down-regulate downregulate
drop-out dropout

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E

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
EIF eIF (eukaryotic initiation factor, e is generally styled as lower case)
electrophoretic mobility-shift assay electrophoretic mobility shift assay
Embase EMBASE
end point endpoint
end product end-product
enzymic enzymatic
et al. et al (no full point)
etiology aetiology
euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp euglycaemic−hyperinsulinaemic clamp
evidenced-based evidence-based

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F

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
first born/first-born firstborn
firstly, secondly, thirdly … first, second, third
focussed focused
foetus/foetal fetus/fetal
follow up follow-up (when used as an adjective rather than verb)
free cholesterol non-esterified cholesterol
free fatty acids non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA)
f-test F test

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G

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
glucose-6-phosphate glucose 6-phosphate but glucose-6-phosphatase (note hyphenation)
glutathione S-tranferase glutathione S-transferase (S in italics)
guinea-pig guinea pig

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H

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
HbA1c HbA1c (note styling i.e. lower case subscript c)
HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, etc. HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, etc.
Hank’s balanced salt solution Hanks’ balanced salt solution
health care healthcare
high fat diet high-fat diet
high fat fed high-fat-fed (not high fat-fed, high-fat fed etc.)
hind limb hindlimb
HSV1 HSV-1
herpes simplex virus 1
hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp hyperinsulinaemic−euglycaemic clamp

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I

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
IDDM patient type 1 diabetic patient
interleukin 2 interleukin-2 (with hyphen)
IL 2 IL-2 (with hyphen)
intima-media thickness intima–media thickness (en-dash)

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J

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
JDRF Correct name of the charity (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). No need to expand

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K

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
Kaplan-Meier Kaplan–Meier (en-dash)
KD kDa (abbreviation for kilodaltons)
knock-in knockin
knock-out knockout

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L

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
L-cell L cell
leukemia leukaemia
leukocyte leucocyte
light-grey light grey
Log log (lower case l, and space, e.g. log tyiacylglycerol)
log rank logrank
lumenal luminal

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M

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
MAFA MafA (a transcription factor)
male, female as nouns men, women
Mann-Whitney U test Mann–Whitney U test (en-dash)
Medline MEDLINE
metabolic syndrome the metabolic syndrome
methods methodology Not interchangeable. Methodology is a system of methods used in a particular area of study
mm Hg mmHg (closed up)
mortality mortality rate
MTOR mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin)
M value M value (insulin sensitivity)
Myanmar Burma

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N

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
N or NH2 terminal N- or NH2-terminal (hyphen optional with terminus)
naïve naive (no diaeresis)
Neuman-Keuls Neuman–Keuls (en-dash)
neurone neuron
NFκB NF-κB
NICE Expansion is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (from 2013)
NIDDM type 2 diabetes
night time night-time [include hypen]
nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice non-obese diabetic mice (note that NOD is an accepted abbreviation)
Northern blot northern blot

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O

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
OD (optical density) absorbance (the preferred technical term)
OD450 etc absorbance at 450 nm
omega fatty acid n-3 fatty acid (hyphen not en dash)
on line online
out-patient outpatient
over-express overexpress
overrepresent over-represent
over-stimulate overstimulate
over-weight overweight

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P

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
pancreata pancreases
parameter variable
parasthesias parasthesiae
penicillin streptomycin penicillin−streptomycin
percent per cent
periodic acid-schiff’s reagent periodic acid–Schiff’s reagent (en-dash, capital S)
peroxisome proliferative-activated receptor, gamma, coactivator 1, alpha peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, gamma, coactivator 1, alpha
person years person-years
phosphorylase a phosphorylase a (a in italics)
post-hoc post hoc (no hyphen)
post-natal postnatal
post-prandial postprandial
posttranscriptional post-transcriptional
posttranslational post-translational
preadipocytes pre-adipocytes
pre-diabetic prediabetic
pre-prandial preprandial
prepregnancy pre-pregnancy
pro-inflammatory proinflammatory
pro-insulin proinsulin
program programme (but program is correct for computer program or when referring to cellular programming)
Pubmed PubMed

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Q

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
quantitation, quantitate quantification, quantify

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R

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
Ra, Rd (rate of appearance, rate of disappearance) RaRd
READ codes Read codes
realtime real-time (if adjective), otherwise real time
real-time PCR Don’t abbreviate to RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction)
receiver operator characteristic receiver operating characteristic
red blood cell erythrocyte
re-fed, re-feeding refed, refeeding
regime(n) regimen (treatment routine)
regime (governmental system)
regular insulin short-acting insulin
ROC Precede by ‘a’ rather than ‘an’ (pronounced as ‘rock’)
rpm rev/min (appropriate for shakers; convert to g for centrifuge speed)

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S

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
sacrificed killed
side-effect side effect (unless adjectival)
skinfold skinfold thickness
SNP Precede by ‘a’ rather than ‘an’ (pronounced as ‘snip’)
socio-economic socioeconomic
Sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 Sodium−glucose cotransporter 2
south Asian South Asian
southern blot Southern blot (for DNA) (invented by Prof. Southern, hence capital S)
Sprague-Dawley Sprague Dawley (no hyphen or N rule)
St. St (contraction, not abbreviation)
Student-Neuman-Keuls Student–Neuman–Keuls (en-dash)
Students t-test Student’s t test
sub-group subgroup
sub-population subpopulation
sulphonylurea sulfonylurea
super family superfamily
survival survival rate

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T

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
T-cell T cell
The Netherlands the Netherlands
T-helper T helper
thin layer chromatography thin-layer chromatography (or TLC)
time-course time course
TNFα TNF-α
transaminase aminotransferase
triglyceride triacylglycerol (except adipose triglyceride lipase [ATGL])
tritiated 3H-labelled or similar (e.g. 3H2O)
tumoural tumoral
type 1 diabetes in the mouse mouse model of type 1 diabetes
type I diabetes type 1 diabetes
type II diabetes type 2 diabetes

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U

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
under-estimate underestimate
underrecord under-record
underrepresent under-represent
United Kingdom UK
up-regulate upregulate
US OK if adjectival, otherwise USA

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V

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
variable number of tandem repeats polymorphism variable-number-of-tandem-repeats polymorphism
versus vs
vitamin B12 vitamin B12
vitamin D3 vitamin D3

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W

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
web site website
Western blot western blot (for protein)
western Europe Western Europe (upper case W)
… Whites … … whites … (lowercase)
wildtype wild-type
Wmax Wmax
World Health Organization WHO (standard abbreviation; -iz spelling in references)

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X

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
X-ray x-ray

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Z

Non-preferred spelling / usage Preferred spelling / usage
z score z score
Z test Z test

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