Cardiology journals retract five Matsubara studies

matsubaraThe American Heart Association (AHA) is retracting five studies by Hiroaki Matsubara, a former Kyoto Prefectural University cardiology researcher, that it had subjected to an expression of concern last year.

Here’s the notice:

The American Heart Association (AHA) published an expression of concern(1-3) simultaneously in Circulation, Circulation Research, and Hypertension, and we have now been notified by Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine that certain data and figures in these 5 articles were falsified. Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine sends their deepest apologies to the academic community at large.

The AHA is hereby retracting these articles:

Fujiyama S, Matsubara H, Nozawa Y, Maruyama K, Mori Y, Tsutsumi Y, Masaki H, Uchiyama Y, Koyama Y, Nose A, Iba O, Tateishi E, Ogata N, Jyo N, Higashiyama S, Iwasaka T. Angiotensin AT1 and AT2 receptors differentially regulate angiopoietin-2 and vascular endothelial growth factor expression and angiogenesis by modulating heparin binding–epidermal growth factor (EGF)–mediated EGF receptor transactivation. Circ Res. 2001;88:22-29. doi:10.1161/01.RES.88.1.22.

Shibasaki Y, Matsubara H, Nozawa Y, Mori Y, Masaki H, Kosaki A, Tsutsumi Y, Uchiyama Y, Fujiyama S, Nose A, Iba O, Tateishi E, Hasegawa T, Horiuchi M, Nahmias C, Iwasaka T. Angiotensin II type 2 receptor inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation by increasing association of SHP-1 tyrosine phosphatase. Hypertension. 2001;38:367-372. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.38.3.367.

Iba O, Matsubara H, Nozawa Y, Fujiyama S, Amano K, Mori Y, Kojima H, Iwasaka T. Angiogenesis by implantation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and platelets into ischemic limbs. Circulation. 2002;106:2019-2025. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000031332.45480.79.

Amano K, Matsubara H, Iba O, Okigaki M, Fujiyama S, Imada T, Kojima H, Nozawa Y, Kawashima S, Yokoyama M, Iwasaka T. Enhancement of ischemia-induced angiogenesis by eNOS overexpression. Hypertension. 2003;41:156-162. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000053552.86367.12.

Mano A, Tatsumi T, Shiraishi J, Keira N, Nomura T, Takeda M, Nishikawa S, Yamanaka S, Matoba S, Kobara M, Tanaka H, Shirayama T, Takamatsu T, Nozawa Y, Matsubara H. Aldosterone directly induces myocyte apoptosis through calcineurin-dependent pathways. Circulation. 2004;110: 317-323. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000135599.33787.CA.


1. Expression of concern. Circulation. 2012;125:e461. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e31824e88a5.

2. Expression of concern. Circ Res. 2012;110:e47. doi: 10.1161/RES.0b013e31824c48c2.

3. Expression of concern. Hypertension. 2012;59:e36. doi: 10.1161/HYP.0b013e31824c1097.

The 2002 Circulation paper has been cited 185 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Matsubara has been part of what has become a complicated story involving Novartis, whose drug valsartan (Diovan) was the subject of the now-retracted Kyoto Heart Study, which Matsubara led. As Larry Husten, who has been chronicling the Novartis angle, reported yesterday:

Novartis has acknowledged that employees of the company participated in five “independent” investigator-initiated post-registration trials without disclosing their relationship to the company. The company said that a broader “comprehensive investigation with independent third party experts is ongoing” but that it has “provided an update” to Japanese medical societies and to the principal investigators of the five trials.

The Kyoto Heart Study was one of the trials Novartis was investigating for a potential undisclosed conflict of interest. Matsubara, who has three retractions in addition to these five new ones, resigned his university post earlier this year.

7 thoughts on “Cardiology journals retract five Matsubara studies”

  1. The American Heart Association (AHA) should investigate other papers of Dr. Issei Komuro, who led another valsartan (Diovan) study, VART (The Valsartan Amlodipine Randomized Trial).

    Forbes: Suspicions Raised About Another Japanese Cardiovascular Researcher

    Circulation. 2003 Dec 16;108(24):3024-30

    Circulation. 2002 Mar 12;105(10):1240-6.

    Circ Res. 1999 Mar 5;84(4):458-66.

    Circulation. 1999 Nov 16;100(20):2100-7.

    Circulation. 1998 May 19;97(19):1952-9.

  2. The American Heart Association (AHA) should investigate other papers of Dr. Shokei Kim-Mitsuyama, who was a Endpoint committee member of Kyoto Heart Study, a randomized, open-labeled study testing the add-on effect of valsartan to conventional therapy in high-risk hypertension.

    Circulation. 2006 Mar 14;113(10):1353-60.
    “GAPDH” in Fig.3(B) is similar to “GAPDH” in Fig.4(B).

    Circ Res. 2003 Oct 31;93(9):874-83.
    Fig.4A – “Wild” image is similar to “ASK1 -/-“.

    Hypertension. 2000 Oct;36(4):511-6.
    Fig.2 – The left lane of “ERK-Lo” in the Fig.2 is similar to the right lane of “ERK-W” in Fig.4(B).

    Circ Res. 1998 Oct 5;83(7):752-60.
    Fig.1C – The lane of “5min” is similar to the horizontally flipped image of “3h” lane.

    Hypertension. 1998 Jan;31(1):50-6.
    Fig.5 – The left lane and right lane of “S (SHRSP)” of “24 wk” are similar.

    1. Dear JuuichiJigen,

      Good job!!

      Please, could you post these comments and suspicions as entries as well, if you would not mind doing it totally anonymously?

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