Daniel R. Kapusta, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmacology
PI and Director, COBRE Cardiovascular Research Program

COBRE website

LSU Health Sciences Center
1901 Perdido Street P7-1
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 568-4740
Fax: (504) 568-2361



Ph.D. - 1986
Louisiana State University


Daniel R. Kapusta, Ph.D. is the P.I. and Program Director of the NIH (NIGMS/NCRR) funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program titled ‘Mentoring in Cardiovascular Biology’. Dr. Kapusta is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and was recruited to LSUHSC from the University of Iowa, Department of Internal Medicine in 1991. Dr. Kapusta is also the Co-Director of the LSUHSC Cardiovascular Center of Excellence. Dr. Kapusta is trained in the physiology and pharmacology of the cardiovascular, autonomic and kidney systems. Using an integrated whole animal system approach, he has focused on understanding how neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and neurohumoral mechanisms participate in the central nervous system control of cardiovascular and renal function in normal and pathological conditions (hypertension, cirrhosis with ascites, hemorrhagic, cardiac and septic trauma). Dr. Kapusta has an extensive background in the development of novel therapeutic agents for the management of hypertension and the prevention of water retention/hyponatremia in vasopressin excess states (congestive heart failure, cirrhosis with ascites, acute renal failure). His current research interests involve studying the role that selective brain G-alpha subunit protein signaling pathways play in the central control of cardiovascular and renal function. He has several US and international patents that focus on novel compounds to prevent 1) acute tubular necrosis caused by the hemorrhagic trauma, surgery and/or anesthesia and 2) prevention of hyponatremia and water retention in pathological vasopressin excess states.

Research Interests

Central Neural and Humoral Control of Cardiovascular and Renal Function

Novel functional roles of central G-protein alpha subunit pathways controlling cardiovascular and renal function and central sympathetic outflow in normal and pathological states.

Development of novel peripherally acting nociceptin analogues as water diuretics in vasopressin excess states (e.g., CHF, cirrhosis with ascites, SIADH). Research conducted in collaboration with Zealand Pharmaceuticals A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Development of kappa-opioid agonists for the prevention of ischemic acute renal failure and renal shutdown during trauma and anesthesia/surgery/hemorrhage. Planning of clinical trials and ongoing basic science research conducted in collaboration with the Department of Surgery, Nephrology and Anesthesiology, LSUHSC-NO.

Study of the neurohormonal mechanisms involved in mediating the renal excretory responses produced by central opioid agonists and nociceptin in conscious normotensive and hypertensive rats and mice.


Teaching Activities

Teaching Expertise:    Autonomic Nervous System, Cholinergic and Adrenergic Pharmacology, Diuretic Pharmacology, Pharmacological Management of Angina and Hypertension to Medical, Dental, Nursing, Allied Health, Dental Hygiene, and Doctoral Graduate Students   

Course Directorship:    Pharm 200: Medical Pharmacology

Biosystems A: Integrative Sciences: Body Fluid/Electrolytes and Kidney Systems

4/23/2007           Receipt of Aesculapian Society Excellence in Teaching Award, LSUHSC

5/20/2013           Receipt of Aesculapian Society Excellence in Teaching Award, LSUHSC

5/17/2007           Receipt of the Allen A. Copping Award for Excellence in Teaching, Highest Teaching Honor Awarded at LSUHSC

5/12/2010           Receipt of Aesculapian Society Excellence in Teaching Award, LSUHSC

Selected Publications

Polhemus DJ, Trivedi RK, Gao J, Li Z, Scarborough AL, Goodchild TT, Varner KJ, Xia H, Smart FW, Kapusta DR, Lefer DJ. Renal Sympathetic Denervation Protects the Failing Heart Via Inhibition of Neprilysin Activity in the Kidney. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Oct 24;70(17):2139-2153.

Gao J, Kerut EK, Smart F, Katsurada A, Seth D, Navar LG, Kapusta DR. Sympathoinhibitory Effect of Radiofrequency Renal Denervation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats With Established Hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2016 Dec 1;29(12):1394-1401.

Polhemus DJ, Gao J, Scarborough AL, Trivedi R, McDonough KH, Goodchild TT, Smart F, Kapusta DR, Lefer DJ. Radiofrequency Renal Denervation Protects the Ischemic Heart via Inhibition of GRK2 and Increased Nitric Oxide Signaling. Circ Res. 2016 Jul 22;119(3):470-80.

Soltani Z, Rasheed K, Kapusta DR, Reisin E. Potential role of uric acid in metabolic syndrome, hypertension, kidney injury, and cardiovascular diseases: is it time for reappraisal? Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Jun;15(3):175-81.

Kapusta DR, Pascale CL, Kuwabara JT, Wainford RD. Central nervous system Gαi2-subunit proteins maintain salt resistance via a renal nerve-dependent sympathoinhibitory pathway. Hypertension. 2013 Feb;61(2):368-75. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00014. Epub 2012 Dec 3.PMID: 23213191

Kapusta DR, Pascale CL, Wainford RD. Brain heterotrimeric Gαi₂-subunit protein-gated pathways mediate central sympathoinhibition to maintain fluid and electrolyte homeostasis during stress. FASEB J. 2012 Epub 2012 Mar 29. PMID:22459149 [PubMed - in process]

Yoshida T, Semprun-Prieto L, Wainford RD, Sukhanov S, Kapusta DR, Delafontaine P. Angiotensin II reduces food intake by altering orexigenic neuropeptide expression in the mouse hypothalamus. Endocrinology. 2012 Mar;153(3):1411-20. Epub 2012 Jan 10. PMID: 22234465 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Toll L, Khroyan TV, Sonmez K, Ozawa A, Lindberg I, McLaughlin JP, Eans SO, Shahien AA, Kapusta DR. Peptides derived from the prohormone proNPQ/spexin are potent central modulators of cardiovascular and renal function and nociception. FASEB J. 2012 Feb;26(2):947-54. Epub 2011 Oct 28. PMID:22038051 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Wainford RD, Kapusta DR. Functional selectivity of central Gα-subunit proteins in mediating the cardiovascular and renal excretory responses evoked by central α(2) -adrenoceptor activation in vivo. Br J Pharmacol. 2012 May;166(1):210-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01662.x. PMID:21895632 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Wainford RD, Kapusta DR. Hypothalamic Paraventricular Nucleus Galpha q Subunit Protein Pathways Mediate Vasopressin Dysregulation and Fluid Retention in Salt-Sensitive Rats.Endocrinology. 151:5403-5414, 2010. PMCID: PMC 2954710

Wainford, R.D. and Kapusta, D.R: Chronic high-NaCl intake prolongs the cardiorenal responses to central N/OFQ and produces regional changes in the endogenous brain NOP receptor system. Am. J. Physiol.296:R280-R288, 2009. PMCID: PMC2643980

Krowicki ZK, Kapusta DR. Microinjection of glycine into the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus produces diuresis, natriuresis, and inhibition of central sympathetic outflow. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2011 Apr;337(1):247-55. Epub 2011 Jan 13. PMID:21233196 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Filipeanu CM, de Vries R, Danser AH, Kapusta DR. Modulation of α(2C) adrenergic receptor temperature-sensitive trafficking by HSP90. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Feb;1813(2):346-57. Epub 2010 Dec 9. PMID:21145921; PMCID: PMC3148834.

Guggilam A, Patel KP, Haque M, Ebenezer PJ, Kapusta D.R., Francis J.:  Cytokine blockade attenuates sympathoexcitation in heart failure: cross-talk between nNOS, AT-1R and cytokines in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Eur. J. Heart Fail. 10:625-634, 2008. PMCID: PMC2593148.

Wainford, R.D., Kristine Kurtz, and Kapusta, D.R: Central G-alpha subunit protein mediated control of cardiovascular function, urine output and vasopressin (AVP) secretion in conscious Sprague-Dawley rats. Am. J. Physiol., 295:R535-R542, 2008. PMCID: PMC2519935

Krowicki, Z.B. and Kapusta, D.R: Tonic nociceptinergic inputs to neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus contribute to sympathetic vasomotor tone and water and electrolyte homeostasis in conscious rats. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap., 317:446-53, 2006. PMID:16407463.

Larsen, B.D., Petersen, J.S., Harlow, K., Kapusta, D.R: A diuretic nociceptin derivative. US patent # 09/882,291.

Kapusta, D.R., Thorkildsen, C., Kenigs, V.A., Meier, E., Vinge, M.M., Quist, C., and Petersen, J.S: Pharmacodynamic characterization of ZP120, a novel functionally selective NOP receptor partial agonist with sodium-potassium-sparing aquaretic activity. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap., 314:652-660, 2005.

Kapusta, D.R., Burmeister, M., Calo’, G., et. al., V.A: Functional selectivity of nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide receptor partial agonists on cardiovascular and renal function.
J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap., 314:643-651, 2005.

Gottlieb, H.B., Varner, K.J., Kenigs, V.A., and Kapusta, D.R: Differential cardiovascular and renal responses produced by microinjection of the kappa opioid, U-50488H, into subregions of the paraventricular nucleus. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap., 312:678-685, 2005.

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