“No original data”: Stem cell researchers in Japan up to nine retractions

A group of researchers in Japan who study oral stem cells has lost at least nine papers for fabricated data. 

We reported on this group, from Aichi Gakuin University in Nagoya, last year after they lost two papers in PLOS ONE for image manipulation. The new retraction notice appears in the Journal of Oral Biosciences, an Elsevier journal, and refers to several other papers that the editors say are to be retracted.

Here’s the notice for “New findings for dentin sialophosphoprotein studies: Applications of purified odontoblast-like cells derived from stem cells,” which was published in 2016:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Authors. After the retraction of the article [Hiyama T, Ozeki N, Mogi M, Yamaguchi H, Kawai R, Nakata K, Kondo A, Nakamura H. 2013. Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 in Odontoblastic Cells Derived from Ips Cells: Unique Proliferation Response as Odontoblastic Cells Derived from ES Cells. PLoS ONE 8(12): e83563. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083563] which contained fabricated/falsified data, the authors attempted to confirm original data for the results presented in their related publications. As a result, they reached a conclusion that there were no original data for the results presented in several their publications. This article was written on the basis of the seven publications retracted or to be retracted and it is no longer reliable. …

All of the authors except Nobuaki Ozeki have agreed to retract the article. Nobuaki Ozeki, the corresponding author and the first author of the article, left Aichi Gakuin University in March 2018, and does not respond to co-authors inquiries.

The authors deeply regret this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

The affected papers are: 

N. Ozeki, M. Mogi, R. Kawai, H. Yamaguchi, T. Hiyama, K. Nakata, H. Nakamura Mouse-induced pluripotent stem cells differentiate into odontoblast-like cells with induction of altered adhesive and migratory phenotype of integrin PLoS One, 8 (2013), p. e80026

R. Kawai, N. Ozeki, H. Yamaguchi, T. Tanaka, K. Nakata, M. Mogi, H. Nakamura Mouse ES cells have a potential to differentiate into odontoblast-like cells using hanging drop method Oral Dis, 20 (2014), pp. 395-403

N. Ozeki, M. Mogi, H. Yamaguchi, T. Hiyama, R. Kawai, N. Hase, K. Nakata, H. Nakamura, R.H. Kramer Differentiation of human skeletal muscle stem cells into odontoblasts is dependent on induction of alpha1 integrin expression J Biol Chem, 289 (2014), pp. 14380-14391

N. Ozeki, N. Hase, R. Kawai, H. Yamaguchi, T. Hiyama, A. Kondo, K. Nakata, M. Mogi Unique proliferation response in odontoblastic cells derived from human skeletal muscle stem cells by cytokine-induced matrix metalloproteinase-3 Exp Cell Res, 331 (2015), pp. 105-114

N. Ozeki, N. Hase, H. Yamaguchi, T. Hiyama, R. Kawai, A. Kondo, K. Nakata, M. Mogi Polyphosphate induces matrix metalloproteinase-3-mediated proliferation of odontoblast-like cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells Exp Cell Res, 333 (2015), pp. 303-315

N. Ozeki, R. Kawai, N. Hase, T. Hiyama, H. Yamaguchi, A. Kondo, K. Nakata, M. Mogi Alpha2 integrin, extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer, and matrix metalloproteinase-3 act sequentially to induce differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into odontoblast-like Exp Cell Res, 331 (2015), pp. 21-37

N. Ozeki, M. Mogi, N. Hase, T. Hiyama, H. Yamaguchi, R. Kawai, A. Kondo, T. Matsumoto, K. Nakata Autophagy-related gene 5 and Wnt5 signaling pathway requires differentiation of embryonic stem cells into odontoblast-like cells Exp Cell Res, 341 (2016), pp. 92-104

Neither the papers in Experimental Cell Research — also an Elsevier title — nor the one in the Journal of Biological Chemistry are yet retracted.

We also found this disappointing — in the sense of information-free — retraction, for a 2015 article in BioScience Trends titled “Polyphosphate-induced matrix metalloproteinase-3-mediated differentiation in rat dental pulp fibroblast-like cells:”

This article was retracted.

We emailed Ozeki and Nakata for comment but did not hear back.

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