Keeping old mice young at heart

Summaries of newsworthy papers: Ageing: Keeping old mice young at heart; Stem cells: Bolstering bone density; Wheat can’t stand the heat

This press release contains:

Summaries of newsworthy papers:
Ageing: Keeping old mice young at heart
Stem cells: Bolstering bone density
And finally… Wheat can’t stand the heat

• Geographical listing of authors

Warning: This document, and the Scientific Reports paper to which it refers, may contain information that is price sensitive (as legally defined, for example, in the UK Criminal Justice Act 1993 Part V) with respect to publicly quoted companies. Anyone dealing in securities using information contained in this document or in advanced copies of Scientific Reports’ content may be guilty of insider trading under the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

A PDF of the papers mentioned on this release can be found in the Scientific Reports section of Press contacts are listed at the end of this release.

PICTURES: While we are happy for images from Scientific Reports to be reproduced for the purposes of contemporaneous news reporting, you must also seek permission from the copyright holder (if named) or author of the research paper in question (if not).

HYPE: We take great care not to hype the papers mentioned on our press releases, but are sometimes accused of doing so. If you ever consider that a story has been hyped, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected], citing the specific example.


[1] Ageing: Keeping old mice young at heart
DOI: 10.1038/srep00070

The synthetic compound SRT1720 can potentially increase the lifespan and improve the health of adult mice fed a high-fat diet, suggests a paper published online in Scientific Reports.

It is thought that being overweight or obese may accelerate the ageing process by promoting inflammation and by suppressing the expressions of genes associated with longevity, such as Sirt1. Previous studies have suggested that the synthetic compound SRT1720 can activate Sirt1 in cell cultures and — in short-term studies — in obese rats and mice. Rafael de Cabo and colleagues show that adult mice fed a high-fat diet and treated with SRT1720 experience increased mean and maximum life spans. After more than 80 weeks of treatment with the compound, the mice were shown to have a gene expression profile similar to mice on a lean diet, and benefitted from improved metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and liver and pancreas function.

There is ongoing debate as to whether SRT1720 activates Sirt1 directly and the authors cannot be certain whether the effects on lifespan and health shown in the present study result from direct or indirect Sirt1 activation by the compound. However, the research does indicate that long-term treatment of obese mice with SRT1720 allows them to life longer, healthier lives. Further research will be needed in order to one day translate these findings to clinical practice for improving lifespan and health in humans.


Rafael de Cabo (National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Tel: +1 410 558 8510; E-mail: [email protected]

Please link to the freely available scientific paper in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends):

[2] Stem cells: Bolstering bone density
DOI: 10.1038/srep00067

Transplanting mesenchymal stem cells from young mice can slow the loss of bone density in ageing mice, reports a study published online in Scientific Reports.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deteriorating bone structure, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Previous research has suggested that the loss of functional stem cells may be important to the ageing process but the link between ageing and osteoporosis is not fully understood.

Liping Tang and colleagues transplanted bone mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) from aged or young mouse donors into aged female mice. They found that transplanting cells from young animals restored bone microstructure and density in aged mice, whereas BMSCs from old donors had no such effect. This suggests that young BMSCs can differentiate into a variety of cells, including osteoblasts, whereas old BMSCs may somehow lose this capacity.

Furthermore, recipients of BMSCs from young animals had significantly increased life spans, although it remains unclear how administering BMSCs from young donors leads to increased longevity. The authors speculate that the transplanted young BMSCs may enhance cell or tissue regeneration, thereby slowing down the ageing process.


Liping Tang (University of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA)
Tel: +1 817 272 6075; E-mail: [email protected]

Please link to the freely available scientific paper in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends):

[3] And finally… Wheat can’t stand the heat
DOI: 10.1038/srep00066

Heat stress during flowering (anthesis) may have a bigger impact on wheat yield in Europe than drought, suggests a modelling study published in Scientific Reports. The work highlights the need for crop scientists and breeders to prioritise the development of wheat varieties that are resistant to high temperature around flowering.

Wheat is an important crop in temperate regions, including Europe, and is the staple food for millions of humans and their livestock. New varieties of wheat will need to be cultivated to cope with a changing climate characterized by increased summer drought and heat stress in Europe. But the uncertainty in climate predictions means crop scientists and breeders with limited time and resources must focus on the most important traits for improvement.

Mikhail Semenov and Peter Shewry used a wheat simulation model combined with local-scale climate models to predict the impacts of climate change on European winter wheat yield. Drought has been considered to be the most significant environmental stress in agriculture world-wide. But the new analysis indicates that a more serious threat for wheat production in Europe may result from an increase in the frequency and magnitude of heat stress around flowering, which could potentially lead to significant yield losses for heat-sensitive wheat varieties commonly grown in northern Europe.

Mikhail Semenov (Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK)
Tel: +44 1582 763 133; E-mail: [email protected]

Please link to the freely available scientific paper in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends):


The following list of places refers to the whereabouts of authors on the papers numbered in this release. For example, London: 4 - this means that on paper number four, there will be at least one author affiliated to an institute or company in London. The listing may be for an author's main affiliation, or for a place where they are working temporarily. Please see the PDF of the paper for full details.

Lausanne: 1

Harpenden: 3

District of Columbia
Washington: 1
Lexington: 1
Baltimore: 1
Boston: 1
Cambridge: 1
Oklahoma City: 1
Philadelphia: 1
Arlington: 2
Dallas: 2
Denton: 2


From North America and Canada
Neda Afsarmanesh, Nature New York
Tel: +1 212 726 9231; E-mail: [email protected]

From Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and Taiwan
Mika Nakano, Nature Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3267 8751; E-mail: [email protected]

From the UK
Rebecca Walton, Nature, London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail: [email protected]

About Nature Publishing Group (NPG):
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a publisher of high impact scientific and medical information in print and online. NPG publishes journals, online databases and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences and clinical medicine.

Focusing on the needs of scientists, Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading weekly, international scientific journal. In addition, for this audience, NPG publishes a range of Nature research journals and Nature Reviews journals, plus a range of prestigious academic journals including society-owned publications. Online, provides over 5 million visitors per month with access to NPG publications and online databases and services, including Nature News and NatureJobs plus access to Nature Network and Nature Education’s

Scientific American is at the heart of NPG’s newly-formed consumer media division, meeting the needs of the general public. Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the US and the leading authoritative publication for science in the general media. Together with and 15 local language editions around the world it reaches over 3 million consumers and scientists. Other titles include Scientific American Mind and Spektrum der Wissenschaft in Germany.

Throughout all its businesses NPG is dedicated to serving the scientific and medical communities and the wider scientifically interested general public. Part of Macmillan Publishers Limited, NPG is a global company with principal offices in London, New York and Tokyo, and offices in cities worldwide including Boston, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Hong Kong, Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Heidelberg, Basingstoke, Melbourne, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul and Washington DC. For more information, please go to

Published: 19 Aug 2011

Contact details:

The Macmillan Building, 4 Crinan Street
N1 9XW
United Kingdom

+44 20 7833 4000
News topics: 
Content type: