A paper was published in 2015; the authors already lost the data

American Journal of Physiology Renal PhsyiologyThe authors of a 2015 study have retracted it after discovering that several Western blots in their paper “do not represent the experiments that were reported.”

They couldn’t check some of the original blots, because — according to the retraction notice in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology — they could not be located. The ones that could be found, however, are “inconsistent with what is presented in the figures.”

Here’s the retraction notice, published last month:

Abou Msallem J, Chalhoub H, Al Hariri M, Saad L, Jaffa M, Ziyadeh F, Jaffa A. Mechanisms of bradykinin-induced expression of connective tissue growth factor and nephrin in podocytes. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 309: F980–F990, 2015; doi:10.1152/ajprenal.00233.2015.

At the request of the authors, the paper noted above is being retracted. Western blots in Figs. 1D, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4D, and 6 do not represent the experiments that were reported in the manuscript. Original captures for several blots in these figures could not be located, and others are inconsistent with what is presented in the figures. The authors sincerely regret the misrepresentation of these data and apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

The original study, “Mechanisms of bradykinin-induced expression of connective tissue growth factor and nephrin in podocytes,” has yet to be cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.  

A spokesperson for the American Physiological Society (APS), which publishes the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, referred us to the study’s authors, noting:

…APS has a transparent and rigorous publications ethics policy. However, we don’t address inquiries or discuss perceived or actual ethical infractions with individuals, groups, or organizations not directly involved with the matter, including the media.

The study’s last author, Ayad Jaffa, is listed as being affiliated with the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. We’ve reached out to Jaffa for a comment directly and via a MUSC spokesperson. We’ll update the post if we hear back.

We were unable to find contact information for first author Joseph Pierre Abou Msallem, also listed as based at the American University of Beirut.

Typically, when authors are unable to find original data, it’s because the experiments were published a number of years ago.

We’ve also come across a 2011 correction in The Journal of Biological Chemistry for a 2010 paper that lists Jaffa as last author, which was issued after a co-author

was inadvertently left off of the author list.

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