Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“Immorally” affecting the literature: Authors blame sloppy work from an outside lab for retraction

with 2 comments

SpandidosA group of Chinese researchers has retracted a paper, saying that an outside lab switched their immunofluorescent stains with another research group’s.

The group has decided to repeat the experiments on their own next time.

Here’s the notice in Molecular Medicine Reports for “Protective role of Klotho on cardiomyocytes upon hypoxia/reoxygenation via downregulation of Akt and FOXO1 phosphorylation”:

After the publication of the article, the authors decided they wished to retract their manuscript for the following reasons. We wish to retract our research article entitled ‘Protective role of Klotho on cardiomyocytes upon hypoxia/reoxygenation via downregulation of Akt and FOXO1 phosphorylation’ published in Molecular Medicine Reports 11(3): 2013‑2019, 2015. In this article, we cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes and then generated hypoxia/reoxygenation models. During the research, we sent the samples to a company to perform immunofluorescent staining; however, we have now realized that Figure 2 (Effect of Klotho on location of FOXO1 in cardiomyocytes upon H/R) does not actually contain the images obtained in our study. This issue was raised with the company who found that other researchers also conducted immunofluorescent staining at the same time. Thus, the technician may have unintentionally mixed up our figures with those of another research group. As a result, the results and related statements were not obtained from our own experiments. Based on this, we ascertained that if the article was not retracted now, it would immorally effect future research and readers views. In order to avoid this, all authors involved unanimously agreed to retract this article and redesign and repeat our experiments without the use of external companies. We deeply apologize to the readers for any inconvenience caused by this retraction. [The original article was published in the Mol Med Rep 11(3): 2013-2019, 2015 Mar. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2014.2899. Epub 2014 Nov 7].

We’ve reached out to the authors and publisher, and will update if we learn anything else.

Written by Cat Ferguson

January 23rd, 2015 at 11:00 am

  • Dave Fernig January 23, 2015 at 11:24 am

    They appear to have detected the problem and done what should be done. If only it was always this simple…
    It does raise the question about the reliability of 3rd party services, since in biomedical sciences there is an increasing reliance on “black box” products and services, which is never good.

  • Not Spandidos January 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    So, this means that there is, very potentially, another paper out there, with this group’s photo published?

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