“Evidence of data duplication” infects lung inflammation paper from Harvard and Yale

IAIA team of Harvard and Yale biologists have retracted an Infection and Immunity paper due to data duplication.

After the duplication came to light, the erroneous figures were corrected using original data, but the results affected “some of the manuscript’s conclusions.” An ethics panel subsequently recommended retraction, according to the journal, and the authors agreed.

The paper, “NOD2 Signaling Contributes to Host Defense in the Lungs against Escherichia coli Infection,” analyzed the role of the gene NOD2 in the lung inflammatory response against the bacteria Escherichia coli. It has been cited by 15 other papers, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Figure 2B of the paper was previously corrected in 2012, but the retraction is for data duplication in figures 5F and 6A. Here’s the full retraction note:

Volume 80, no. 7, p. 2558–2569, 2012. The authors hereby retract this article.

After publication, this article was found to have evidence of data duplication as follows: (i) in Fig. 5F, the GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) control bands for NOD2/RIP2−/− mice at 6 h and C57BL/6 mice at 24 h are identical; (ii) in Fig. 6A, the P-JNK and P-p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) bands for C57BL/6 macrophages are identical; and (iii) in Fig. 6A, the total p38 MAPK bands at 10, 30, and 60 min for C57BL/6 mice and at 0, 10, and 30 min for NOD2/RIP2−/− mice are identical.

As these figures are not accurate representations of the original data, and correction of the data using the original blots which were used to construct the figures affects some of the manuscript’s conclusions, the authors have agreed to retract this publication. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to the readers of Infection and Immunity.

Ferric Fang, editor-in-chief of the journal and a member of the board of directors of the Center for Scientific Integrity, Retraction Watch’s parent organization, told us how the journal became aware of the data duplication:

A reader contacted IAI about anomalous images in figures 5F and 6A of this paper (details are provided in the retraction notice). The duplication of bands purporting to represent different samples was confirmed by an ASM digital data specialist. The corresponding author was contacted and asked to provide the original data used to construct the figures. The original data were reviewed, and correction of the figures was found to alter some of the paper’s original conclusions. As some of the paper’s findings were no longer felt to be valid, an ASM Journals Ethics Panel recommended retraction of the article, and the authors agreed.

This is the third paper that’s been retracted from IAI recently after a careful reader noticed duplications in the figures.

One of the authors, Richard A. Flavell of the Yale University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was also author on a Journal of Biological Chemistry paper corrected in 2012 because figures were “excessively edited.” He also co-authored a 1984 paper in Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B that was corrected in more than 25 years later (perhaps setting a new record) because it had been redundantly published in two journals.

We’ve reached out to corresponding author Samithamby Jeyaseelan, now at Louisiana State University, for comment. We’ll update if we hear back.

Update, 12 a.m. Eastern, 6/12/15: A commenter points out that Flavell has had two other retractions, from Science in 2005 and the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2003.

Hat tip: @mikethemadbiol

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13 thoughts on ““Evidence of data duplication” infects lung inflammation paper from Harvard and Yale”

  1. Science. 2005 Jan 7;307(5706):117-21.
    Requirement of voltage-gated calcium channel beta4 subunit for T lymphocyte functions.
    Badou A1, Basavappa S, Desai R, Peng YQ, Matza D, Mehal WZ, Kaczmarek LK, Boulpaep EL, Flavell RA.
    Author information
    1Section of Immunobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.

    Retraction notice.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/310/5756/1903.2

  2. J Clin Invest. 2003 Mar;111(5):701-6.
    Inducible costimulator is essential for collagen-induced arthritis.
    Nurieva RI1, Treuting P, Duong J, Flavell RA, Dong C.
    Author information
    1Department of Immunology, and. Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.

    Retraction notice.
    http://www.jci.org/articles/view/17321R1

  3. Another paper by senior and penultimate authors which appears to contain data duplication.

    Infect Immun. 2011 Nov;79(11):4588-99. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05641-11. Epub 2011 Aug 15.
    Receptor-interacting protein 2 controls pulmonary host defense to Escherichia coli infection via the regulation of interleukin-17A.
    Balamayooran T1, Batra S, Balamayooran G, Cai S, Kobayashi KS, Flavell RA, Jeyaseelan S.
    Author information

    1
    Laboratory of Lung Biology, Department of Pathobiological Sciences and Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, Louisiana 708031, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/E4D2C582D75A7F67A5154546770D0A#1

  4. Another paper by the same senior author which appears to contain duplicated data.

    J Immunol. 2014 Oct 1;193(7):3549-58. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1401138. Epub 2014 Aug 29.
    CXCL1 contributes to host defense in polymicrobial sepsis via modulating T cell and neutrophil functions.
    Jin L1, Batra S1, Douda DN2, Palaniyar N2, Jeyaseelan S3.
    Author information

    1
    Laboratory of Lung Biology, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, LA 70803;
    2
    Program in Physiology and Experimental Medicine, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada; and.
    3
    Laboratory of Lung Biology, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112 jey@lsu.edu.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/18A01EA0E8146C19A2A3E1BA3F9A6F#1

  5. Another paper by the same senior author which appears to contain duplicated data.

    Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Jun;40(6):701-9. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0152OC. Epub 2008 Nov 6.
    Myeloid differentiation protein-2-dependent and -independent neutrophil accumulation during Escherichia coli pneumonia.
    Cai S1, Zemans RL, Young SK, Worthen GS, Jeyaseelan S.
    Author information

    1
    Laboratory of Lung Biology, Department of Pathobiological Sciences and Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/22B232A344367A7D52EA546EB6772C#1

  6. Paper by senior author as first author, which seems to contain duplicated data.

    J Immunol. 2006 Jul 1;177(1):538-47.
    Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) is a critical mediator of antibacterial defense in the lung against Klebsiella pneumoniae but not Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
    Jeyaseelan S1, Young SK, Yamamoto M, Arndt PG, Akira S, Kolls JK, Worthen GS.
    Author information

    1
    Division of Respiratory Infections, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, 1400 Jackson Street, Denver, CO 80206, USA. JeyaseelanS@njc.org

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/F833F5202D831360B54CC8FE55AB84#1

  7. Paper by senior author as first author, which seems to contain duplicated data.

    Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2005 Jun;32(6):531-9. Epub 2005 Mar 18.
    Induction of CXCL5 during inflammation in the rodent lung involves activation of alveolar epithelium.
    Jeyaseelan S1, Manzer R, Young SK, Yamamoto M, Akira S, Mason RJ, Worthen GS.
    Author information

    1
    Division of Respiratory Infections, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, 1400 Jackson Street Neustadt D-403, Denver, CO 80206, USA. JeyaseelanS@njc.org

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/F6A46164A38CDE70926B888FF89300#1

  8. Paper by senior author as first author, which seems to contain duplicated data.

    Infect Immun. 2005 Mar;73(3):1754-63.
    Distinct roles of pattern recognition receptors CD14 and Toll-like receptor 4 in acute lung injury.
    Jeyaseelan S1, Chu HW, Young SK, Freeman MW, Worthen GS.
    Author information

    1
    Division of Respiratory Infections, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, 1400 Jackson St., Neustadt D-403, Denver, CO 80206, USA. JeyaseelanS@NJC.org

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/4B1F2A30D2C5C5918E63FE56B128D5#1

  9. Paper by senior author as first author, which seems to contain duplicated data.

    Infect Immun. 2001 Oct;69(10):6131-9.
    Mannheimia haemolytica leukotoxin activates a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase signaling cascade in bovine leukocytes, which induces biological effects.
    Jeyaseelan S1, Kannan MS, Briggs RE, Thumbikat P, Maheswaran SK.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Veterinary PathoBiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/657E973F27B17218A4BDF44E569C83#1

  10. Paper by senior author as first author, which seems to contain duplicated data.

    Infect Immun. 2000 Jan;68(1):72-9.
    Lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 is a receptor for Pasteurella haemolytica leukotoxin in bovine leukocytes.
    Jeyaseelan S1, Hsuan SL, Kannan MS, Walcheck B, Wang JF, Kehrli ME, Lally ET, Sieck GC, Maheswaran SK.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Veterinary PathoBiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/7C2F7B1B7C9F0BB8897D9BF1A1AB40#1

  11. Eleven thoughts of data duplication do not related to the retracted paper. Not sure the points from the readers make a whole lot of sense or are placed in the right place.

  12. Who did Westerns or densitometry for the paper? He, she, they is or are responsible (more below).

    First author is usually the student /researcher who has undertaken the research work. First author is often also referred as the presenting author. He /She is responsible for doing the research practically along with senior co-authors who might assist him/ her in the research work or might be the colleagues from the same work group. He is also responsible for preparing the manuscript and analyzing the data. Corresponding author is usually the senior author who provides the intellectual input and designs and approves the protocols to be followed in the study. He is responsible for the manuscript correction, proof reading, whole correspondence during the paper submission, handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts upto the acceptance of the manuscripts. This is the usual practice in most cases.

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