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IL-5 in asthma
  1. K F Chung,
  2. E van Rensen,
  3. R Stirling,
  4. P J Barnes
  1. Department of Thoracic Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, London SW3 6LY, UK

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We have recently published two manuscripts on the effects of interleukin (IL)-5 administration to patients with mild asthma in the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine1 and in Thorax.2 We are addressing this letter to the Editors of both journals.

The data described in both papers have been obtained from one experiment performed in the same group of patients with mild asthma. While the paper in the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine reports primarily on the phenotypic changes in circulating blood eosinophils and CD34+ cells, the Thorax paper describes the changes in the airways with measurements of bronchial responsiveness and of eosinophil counts in sputum, together with eotaxin levels in the serum. Both manuscripts, however, detail the changes in blood eosinophil counts and serum IL-5 changes derived from these nine patients, which constitutes a partial duplication of the data described in the two papers. At the time of submission of the manuscripts to the two journals we did not inform the respective journals of the existence and submission of the other manuscript.

We would also like to take the opportunity of pointing out one mistake and two differences in the two manuscripts:

  1. Table 1 in Thorax contains mistakes regarding the FEV1 values; table 1 in the Am J Respir Crit Care Med paper shows the correct values.

  2. The Am J Respir Crit Care Med paper quotes the median values in the text while mean values are plotted in fig 2, and the Thorax paper the geometric mean.

  3. The blood eosinophil counts were analysed in the Am J Respir Crit Care Med paper as paired t tests while in the Thorax paper we used repeated measures analysis of variance (as recommended by a reviewer) which does not provide significant differences in eosinophil counts.

We recognise that it has been an error of judgement on our part in having the experimental data from this study reported in two separate manuscripts, and also in not informing you (and the reviewers) of the existence of these two separate manuscripts at the time of submission. We have not intentionally set out to duplicate publication of our experimental data and regret that this has happened. We also would like to apologise for the concern that this may cause to the high reputation of both journals.

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