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The use of data from Dr. Dipak Das’s research group at Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, recently suspected to be responsible for research misconduct

Posted by Vang on 19 Jan 2012 at 12:42 GMT

Background: The formulation of recommendations of the use of resveratrol in the present paper, includes several papers from Dr. Dipak Das’ research group at Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine who have recently been suspected to be responsible for several examples of research misconduct.
Based on the uncertainties that have been raised by this case, some have in public raised the question whether the basis for the present recommendations released in 2011 is beginning to waver. This commentary is only discussing the impact of the case on the recommendations.
Two articles in the reference list herein is pointed out by the reviewing board of the University of Connecticut having examples of data fabrication (Special Review Board Report Investigation of Allegation of Research Misconduct Office of Research Integrity Case #DIO 3995): 1) Dudley, J., Das, S., Mukherjee, S., Das, D.K. (2009) Resveratrol, a unique phytoalexin present in red wine, delivers either survival signal or death signal to the ischemic myocardium depending on dose,Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 20(6) pp. 443-452 (Figure 4, Figures 5 and 7) – reference 86; 2) Das, S., Tosaki, A., Bagchi, D., Maulik, N., Das, D.K. (2006) Potentiation of a survival signal in the ischemic heart by resveratrol through p38 mitogen - activated protein kinase/mitogen - and stress - activated protein kinase 1/cAMP response element - binding protein signalling, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 317 (3), pp. 980-988 (Figure 9) – reference 87 .
The data of these two articles are used in the following sentence: “Resveratrol prevented the effects of ischemia at doses of 10 mg/kg, whereas higher doses were found to depress cardiac function and increase myocardial infarct size [86,87].” This statement is mainly based on data of figure 2 of reference 86 and figure 3 of reference 87. These two figures do not contain western blot data or corresponding types of data.
Conclusion: The identified irregularities by the evaluation board of University of Connecticut School of Medicine, in the two papers from Dr. Das’ research group do not have any impact on the conclusions formulated herein. Only in case that the two papers are being retracted from Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry and Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, respectively, the statement given above have to be nullified.
The preventive effect of resveratrol on myocardial infarction is shown in various animal models and shown in a row of different laboratories and not only by the research group of Dr. Das or in the two papers under investigation here. Further, other cardio-protective effects of resveratrol have been observed, which includes reduction of atherosclerosis and hypertension. These additional data may be found in the present PLoS One paper as well.
Recently, January 2012, Magyar et al. showed that resveratrol (10 mg/day) improved several of the biomarkers related to reduced coronary artery disease in a 3 month clinical study.

Ole Vang, Associate professor, Roskilde University, Denmark

Competing interests declared: Author of the paper