Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Molecular Vision retracts three papers from University of Georgia group with error-ridden images

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newmvlogoMolecular Vision has issued “full retractions” for a trio of articles by a group of eye researchers. All of the articles were led by Azza El-Remessy, director of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s clinical and therapeutic graduate program.

As much as that is, there might be more still with this case.

The first paper, from 2000, was titled “Regulation of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) gene expression by cAMP in differentiated retinoblastoma cell.” Its abstract states:

These results demonstrate that laminin induces WERI-Rb1 cell differentiation and cAMP provokes the formation of long ramifying neurite-like processes. Forskolin selectively induces IRBP gene expression in the laminin-treated cells through a cAMP-mediated pathway without de novo protein synthesis.

The paper has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the retraction notice, however:

The authors made substantive errors in figure images of this article such that the hypotheses were not tested and the conclusions were not supported.

On this basis, the Editors formally retract this article from Molecular Vision.

Sincerely,

The Editors of Molecular Vision

The next article, also with El-Remessy as first author, appeared in 2008 and was titled “Neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol in endotoxin-induced uveitis: critical role of p38 MAPK activation.” That paper has been cited 40 times. Again:

The authors made substantive errors in figure images of this article such that the hypotheses were not tested and the conclusions were not supported.

On this basis, the Editors formally retract this article from Molecular Vision.

And the third paper, “Cannabidiol protects retinal neurons by preserving glutamine synthetase activity in diabetes,” which came out in 2010 and has been cited eight times, carries the same notice.

That last article came to the attention of a poster to PubPeer, who pointed out his or her concerns about the figures. Another PubPeer post from last August looks at a 2013 article by El-Remessy in PLOS ONE, “Diabetes-Induced Superoxide Anion and Breakdown of the Blood-Retinal Barrier: Role of the VEGF/uPAR Pathway.” That article has not been retracted or otherwise modified.

El-Remessy was the last author of a 2013 paper in Diabetologia, “Modulation of p75NTR prevents diabetes-and proNGF-induced retinal inflammation and blood–retina barrier breakdown in mice and rats,” which also ran into image issues. A correction issued earlier this year states:

Unfortunately the incorrect western blot of β-actin was included in Fig. 4a. The corrected figure is shown here. [We didn’t include it but you can see it at the linked address.]

She was also lead author of a 2010 study in Diabetologia linking statins to the prevention of diabetic retinopathy, or blindness associated with diabetes. That paper earned a plug from the University of Georgia, which noted that the work:

was supported by the American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation grant, the University of Georgia Research Foundation and a research grant from Pfizer International.

El-Remessy has received multiple NIH grants. In 2012, the University of Georgia announced that she had received a five-year, $1.57 million grant from the NIH to study diabetic retinopathy.

She responded to our request for comment by stating:

I am not ready to discuss it as I am trying to rebuttal it with journal.

Written by amarcus41

September 29th, 2014 at 9:30 am

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