Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Author whose duplications forced Cell correction retracts paper on Down syndrome

without comments

Sebastian Schuchmann, a neuroscience researcher whose duplication errors led to a Cell correction last year, has retracted a 12-year-old paper in the Journal of Neurochemistry whose figures were copied from two of his earlier papers.

Here’s the notice:

The following article from Journal of Neurochemistry, “Diminished glutathione levels cause spontaneous and mitochondria-mediated cell death in neurons from trisomy 16 mice: a model of Down’s syndrome” by S. Schuchmann and U. Heinemann, published in Volume 74, Issue 3, 2000, pages 1205–1214 (available through www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com) has been retracted by agreement between the authors, journal Editors in Chief, Seán Murphy and Jörg Schulz, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Method images and data in the above paper are identical with the following articles “Altered Ca2+ signaling and mitochondrial deficiencies in hippocampal neurons of trisomy 16 mice: a model of Down’s syndrome” (Schuchmann S. and Heinemann U. J. Neurosci. 1998; 18: 7216–7231) and “Increased mitochondrial superoxide generation in neurons from trisomy 16 mice: A model of Down’s syndrome” (Schuchmann S. and Heinemann U. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2000; 28: 235–250).

In detail: Method images from Fig. 1 and Fig. 2b from the article Schuchmann et al., J. Neurosci. (1998) were used for the Fig. 1a, b, e in Schuchmann & Heinemann, J. Neurochem. (2000) and Fig. 1a, b in Schuchmann & Heinemann, Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2000) without permission of The Journal of Neuroscience. Data from Fig. 3a, b, e, f from the article Schuchmann et al., J. Neurosci. (1998) were identical with Fig. 5a, b, d, f in Schuchmann & Heinemann, J. Neurochem. (2000) and Fig. 7a in Schuchmann & Heinemann, Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2000).

The paper has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We were curious whether an investigation by Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin, where the work was done, had uncovered the duplications. An investigation by the university led to a retraction last year by authors who had worked with Schuchmann on the now-corrected Cell paper. Neither Charite nor Schuchmann — who appears to have left the university — responded to our requests for comment.

The outgoing editor of the Journal of Neurochemistry, Sean Murphy, and incoming editor, Jörg Schulz, tell Retraction Watch:

After Dr. Schuchmann contacted us to request a correction, we investigated the case and, in agreement with the authors, came to the conclusion that the manuscript should be retracted and agreed on the text that was published. We have no information on further investigations through the Charité (which we have not contacted).

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