Heart repair study retraction marks second for Mercer University researcher

BasicResCardio_ak12Authors of a study on cardiac repair after heart attack are retracting it from Basic Research in Cardiology because they used “the same samples… to represent two distinct groups on two occasions.”

We find the language of the retraction somewhat confusing, but to the best of our understanding it means that they compared apples to the exact same apples.

The study, published online in 2012, examined the mechanism behind the beneficial effects of a procedure called postconditioning in treating heart attacks. Here’s the retraction notice:

The article ‘‘Postconditioning promotes the cardiac repair through balancing collagen degradation and synthesis after myocardial infarction in rats’’, Basic Res Cardiol (2013) 108:318, was retracted by the authors who regret to have used different fields of the same samples for MMP staining and western blot assay to represent two distinct groups on two occasions in Figs. 4 and 5. Some of the raw data for the earlier experiments with the use of echocardiography for Figs. 8 and 9a were not available for further analysis to exclude that also the same samples were used for two distinct groups. The authors regret the effect of this action on the work of other investigators.

The paper’s corresponding author,  Zhi-Qing Zhao of Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, Georgia, was also an author on a different paper retracted earlier this year, as we reported in March. (Oddly, that article is not marked as retracted, either in the journal or in PubMed.)

The study currently being retracted has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We’ve contacted Zhao  and the editor of the journal for comment and will update this post if they reply.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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2 thoughts on “Heart repair study retraction marks second for Mercer University researcher”

  1. I just got an email from the author (Zhao) requesting to remove the comments on the Br J Pharm 2012 paper (#22823335) because the Eur J Pharm 2015 paper (#25445044) is the one with duplications, and it is going to be retracted.

    I declined to cooperate, on the basis that it’s important for the scientific record to know where duplicated material originated, even after the paper is retracted (depending on whether the retraction wipes the original PDF & HTML paper out altogether, as sometimes happens).

    Neither journal has yet responded to my original emails reporting the above problems on Tuesday, but I’m guessing EJP might respond to confirm the pending retraction if they were approached by RW?

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