Authors retract leptin paper due to “fabricated data”

CellPress_ak2The authors of a study on the effects of the hormone leptin on the liver have retracted it from Cell Metabolism, almost four months after the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) determined it contained faked data, courtesy of its first author.

However, the authors say that the paper’s conclusions remain valid, and are supported by new experiments and additional research by outside groups.

Here’s more from the retraction notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors because Figures 2D–2F, Figure 3G, and Figure 7C have been recently identified as containing fabricated data. Dr. James Warne admitted to being responsible for these experiments and figures. Given the occurrence of data fabrication and to preserve the integrity of scientific literature, the authors are retracting the paper. Despite the inclusion of fabricated data in these figures, the same original conclusion that leptin stimulates hepatic sympathetic activity has been reached with new experiments performed by a different researcher. This conclusion is also supported by two independent studies: Tanida et al. (2015), J. Neurosci. 35, 474–484; and Miyamoto et al. (2012), J. Biol. Chem. 287, 40441–40447. The authors sincerely apologize to the scientific community for any negative impact this may have caused.

The paper, “Impairment of central leptin-mediated PI3K signaling manifested as hepatic steatosis independent of hyperphagia and obesity,” was published in 2011 by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Michigan Medical School.

The ORI ruled in December that the paper’s first author, James P Warne, faked data contained in it, as well as in another paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience (retracted in October) and two grant applications to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Emails to Warne and the paper’s last author have not yet been returned, and a press officer at Cell Press declined to comment.

The paper has been cited 19 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Science.

Hat tip: Kerry Grens

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One thought on “Authors retract leptin paper due to “fabricated data””

  1. Another interesting case of “everything is wrong – we made it up – BUT the conclusions remain valid”. How wise is it to even mention such a thing?

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