A group of cardiology researchers formerly of the University of Cologne has retracted two papers, after investigations into allegations of misconduct led to an admission of guilt by one of the lab’s junior members.
Here’s the first retraction, for “Connexin 43 acts as a cytoprotective mediator of signal transduction by stimulating mitochondrial KATP channels in mouse cardiomyocytes,” published last week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation:
All authors agree to retract the above article. After intense investigations, Dennis Rottlaender has admitted to committing intentional and systematic manipulation of the electrophysiological data in Figures 2, A and D, 3A, 4B, 5, A and D, and 6, A and D. Dr. Rottlaender acted alone, and the other authors were not previously aware of these manipulations.
All authors deeply regret the impact of this action.
The paper has been cited 43 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Retraction for “Glycogen synthase kinase 3β transfers cytoprotective signaling through connexin 43 onto mitochondrial ATPsensitive K+ channels,” by Dennis Rottlaender, Kerstin Boengler, Martin Wolny, Astrid Schwaiger, Lukas J. Motloch, Michel Ovize, Rainer Schulz, Gerd Heusch, and Uta C. Hoppe, which appeared in issue 5, January 31, 2012, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (109: E242–E251; first published January 11, 2012; 10.1073/pnas.1107479109).
The authors wish to note the following: “In the course of intense investigations, the first author (D.R.) has admitted that he has committed intentional, systematic manipulation of the electrophysiological data collected in Cologne. Of note, the manipulation of data does not affect Western blots and infarct size data collected in Essen, Giessen, and Cologne, cell volume data collected in Essen, cell viability data collected in Salzburg and Cologne, or transgenic mice contributed from Essen and Lyon. Accordingly, we wish to retract the paper.”
Lukas J. Motloch
Uta C. Hoppe
The PNAS paper has been cited 4 times.
Hoppe was at the University of Cologne until last year, when she joined the “young, ambitious, private” Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg, Austria, as Director of the Department of Internal Medicine II, Cardiology, and Intensive Care Medicine, according to a recent profile in the European Heart Journal.
The site Science-Fraud had raised questions about a number of the Hoppe group’s papers in July. LaborJournal — in whose English sister publication we have a regular column — has a feature on the case, although it doesn’t seem to be available online at the moment.
The Salzburg Nachrichten newspaper reported last month that an unnamed junior doctor involved in a case involving Hoppe and mitochondrial research is no longer employed by the hospital. The paper notes that the junior doctor is not an author on another questioned paper in Circulation. Hoppe told the paper that she had reviewed all of her research data from the past 10 years.
Update, 7 p.m. Eastern, 12/14/12: The LaborJournal story is now online.