We’ve been alerted to two more retractions of articles by University of Calgary researcher Cory Toth, both in the journal Diabetes, for image doctoring.
One paper, from 2008, was titled “Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products (RAGEs) and Experimental Diabetic Neuropathy.” It has been cited 93 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The notice states:
The corresponding author has formally requested to retract the above-titled paper, which was published online on 26 November 2007. The immunoblot image in Fig. 6A has been fabricated, and portions of that image were duplicated in a later Diabetes article (Diabetes 2009;58:934–945; Fig. 4C) without the recognition of this error by the corresponding author. The immunohistochemical images in Figs. 5 and 7 were not from the cohorts of mice indicated, but were taken from older data not representative of the cohorts studied. The author apologizes to the readers of the journal for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.
The second, “Intranasal Insulin Ameliorates Experimental Diabetic Neuropathy,” appeared in 2009 and has been cited 42 times. Its notice:
The corresponding author has formally requested to retract the above-titled paper, which was published online on 9 January 2009. Table 1 has been duplicated from a prior publication (Brain 2008;131:3311–3334). The immunoblot image in Fig. 4C has been fabricated, and portions of that image were duplicated from a prior Diabetes article (Diabetes2008;57:1002–1017; Fig. 6A) without the knowledge of the corresponding author. The immunohistochemical images in Fig. 5 were not from the cohorts of mice indicated, but were taken from older data not representative of the cohorts studied. The author apologizes to the readers of the journal for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.
The journal also has updated an earlier iteration of a retraction notice for a 2012 paper by Toth titled “Blockade of Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products in a Model of Type 1 Diabetic Leukoencephalopathy”:
In January 2013, Diabetes retracted the above-listed article at the authors’ request. The original retraction statement appears below:The authors have formally requested to retract the above-titled paper, which was published online on 19 November 2012. The authors cite concerns that portions of Fig. 4 were submitted without knowledge of inherent errors or abnormalities that they recognized in retrospect after submission. Therefore, the article has been retracted so the authors can readdress the work and submit it for publication at a later time.
The corresponding author requests to update this statement in order to clarify the specific problems with the data reported in the article: The β-actin immunoblot analyses for “Internal Capsule/Thalamus” and “Cortex” in Fig. 4A are the same (but of different exposures), as is that for “Hippocampus,” which has been inverted horizontally. This same β-actin immunoblot analysis has also been reproduced and reoriented for the “Cortex” in Fig. 5A. Portions of the top left and middle left panel images in Fig. 4B are duplicated albeit at different exposures, and the right “Luxol Fast Blue” images have been reproduced and reoriented from a previous publication (Brain 2008;131:3311–3334; Fig. 4A–C). Segments of the left panel image in Fig. 4G are copied within the same image. Moreover, portions of the images in Fig. 4G are reproduced and reoriented from images in a prior publication (Neurobiology of Disease 2011;44:161–173, Fig. 4C and D and Fig. 5D and E). In Fig. 6A, the β-actin immunoblot analyses of “Hippocampus” for “RAGE-/- Non-Diabetic” and “Wildtype Diabetic sRAGE” are identical. Likewise, the β-actin immunoblot analysis of “Cortex” for “RAGE-/- Diabetic” is the same reoriented image for the “RAGE-/- Non-Diabetic” analysis.
In the supplementary data, Fig. S1B images 1 and 5 (numbering left to right) are identical, albeit with altered contrast, saturation, and/or brightness, as well as resizing of the image. Likewise images 2 and 4 in Fig. S1B are the same despite similar adjustments made. Moreover, the image 2/4 in Fig. S1B has been replicated from two previous publications (Neurobiology of Disease 2011;44:161–73, Fig. 2C and Brain2008;131:3311–3334, Fig. 3A). In Fig. S1D, images 2–5 have also been replicated from a prior publication (Neurobiology of Disease 2011;44:161–73, Fig. 1D), albeit again with altered contrast, saturation, and/or brightness, as well as resizing of the image.
The corresponding author apologizes to the readers of the journal for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.
These were my errors, and as a result, I agree with the retractions of manipulated works identified. There is clearly data that was recycled in different forms rather than being newly performed in at least a small portion of each of the manuscripts implicated.
I am significantly apologetic, remorseful, and embarrassed that this occurred under my watch. Please know that I will not be publishing in the world of science in the future.
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