Stem cell paper retracted from "Nature"

A recently published paper on stem cells has been retracted by three of the four authors.

The paper, "Systemic signals regulate ageing and rejuvenation of blood stem cell niches," appeared in the journal Nature in January. The researchers looked at the ability of blood from young mice to reverse aging in the circulatory systems of older mice.

"We find that age-dependent defects in niche cells are systemically regulated and can be reversed by exposure to a young circulation or by neutralization of the conserved longevity regulator, insulin-like growth factor-1, in the marrow microenvironment," the original study says. "Together, these results show a new and critical role for local and systemic factors in signalling age-related haematopoietic decline, and highlight a new model in which blood-borne factors in aged animals act through local niche cells to induce age-dependent disruption of stem cell function."

The study involved surgically connecting the circulatory systems of an old mouse and a young mouse, exposing the older mouse to the blood and cells of the younger mouse. The original findings were that the exposure reversed age-related decline of blood-forming (haematopoietic) stem cells in the older mouse.

In the retraction, three of the four authors said they wished to retract the article "after a re-examination of the publication raised serious concerns with some of the reported data."

"These concerns have undermined the authors’ confidence in the support for the scientific conclusions reported, specifically the role of osteopontin-positive niche cells in the rejuvenation of haematopoietic stem cells in aged mice. Although this matter is under further review, these authors wish to retract the paper in its entirety, and regret any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication.

One of the paper’s authors, Shane Mayack, maintains that the results of the study are still valid, according to the retraction.


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