Journal flags papers two years after university investigation finds researcher faked data

Daniel Antoine

Nearly two years after a University of Liverpool investigation determined that a former researcher there fabricated his data, the journal Molecular Medicine has issued expressions of concern about four papers by that researcher.

As we reported in 2018, Daniel J. Antoine — once a promising young liver specialist — was found to have made up much of his spectroscopic findings. According to the university: 

Following a detailed investigation, the panel produced its final report in March 2018, which concluded that Dr Dan Antoine, who left the University of his own volition last year, was involved in research misconduct. It found that malpractice had directly influenced and undermined the findings of the research.

The four expressions of concern cite that investigation. For example, the notice for  “Redox modification of cysteine residues regulates the cytokine activity of high mobility group box-1 (HMGB1),” published in 2012, states: 

The Editors-in-Chief would like to alert readers that this article (Yang et al. 2012) is part of an investigation being conducted by the journal following the conclusions of an institutional enquiry at the University of Liverpool with respect to the quantitative mass spectrometry-generated results regarding acetylated and redox-modified HMGB1. Appropriate editorial action will be taken once the investigation is concluded.

Huan Yang, Peter Lundbäck, Lars Ottosson, Helena Erlandsson-Harris, Emilie Venereau, Marco E. Bianchi, Yousef Al-Abed, Ulf Andersson, and Kevin J. Tracey agree to this editorial expression of concern.

Daniel J. Antoine has not responded to any correspondence from the editor/publisher about this editorial expression of concern.

The original paper has been cited 280 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

The journal is also alerting readers about the 2014 article “The α7 nicotinic [which the retraction notice spelled “nicotine”] acetylcholine receptor agonist GTS-21 improves bacterial clearance in mice by restoring hyperoxia-compromised macrophage function”, the 2014 paper “High systemic [which the retraction notice spells “systematic”] levels of the cytokine-inducing HMGB1 isoform secreted in severe macrophage activation syndrome”, and the 2010 article “Diet restriction inhibits apoptosis and HMGB1 oxidation and promotes inflammatory cell recruitment during acetaminophen hepatotoxicity [which the retraction notice spells “hepatoxicity]”.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation last year issued an expression of concern for a 2018 paper by Antoine and colleagues, which stated:

An investigative committee at the University of Liverpool recently identified evidence of data fabrication relating to the mass spectrometry data contributed by Daniel J. Antoine, shown in Figures 3B and 5A of this paper. The Editorial Board is issuing this Expression of Concern to alert readers to this problem. No issues have been raised in regard to any of the other data in this manuscript.

The journal also posted a correction for the paper at the same time.

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2 thoughts on “Journal flags papers two years after university investigation finds researcher faked data”

  1. Wow, fabricating data can lead to an expression of concern? After thinking about for a couple of years? Goodness, don’t stick your neck out too far, editors.

  2. 15th March Expression of Concern for:

    Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Jun 15;22(12):3087-96. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-1130. Epub 2016 Jan 5.
    HMGB1 and Its Hyperacetylated Isoform are Sensitive and Specific Serum Biomarkers to Detect Asbestos Exposure and to Identify Mesothelioma Patients.
    Napolitano A1, Antoine DJ2, Pellegrini L3, Baumann F3, Pagano I3, Pastorino S3, Goparaju CM4, Prokrym K4, Canino C4, Pass HI5, Carbone M6, Yang H6.
    Author information
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.
    MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science, Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
    Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York University, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.
    Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York University, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.

    15th March Expression of Concern.

    The editors are publishing this note to alert readers to a concern about this article (1). An ongoing investigation at the University of Liverpool revealed concerns regarding the integrity of the mass spectrometry data contributed by one of the authors of this article. The authors are aware of these concerns and have requested that the journal alert its readers of these concerns. The journal will provide an update once a resolution has been reached.

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