University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
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MICaB Faculty

Kalpna Gupta, Ph.D.


Department of Medicine

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 1984, Ph.D.

Lab phone: 612-624-7104

Research Interests:

Cancer pain and opioid receptor signaling

Gupta laboratory’s key focus is on opioid receptor signaling in endothelium and its impact on angiogenesis and cancer progression. Opioids are used to treat severe pain in cancer, but they also interact with endothelium and tumor cells via several different opioid receptors. Current studies are examining opioid receptor oligomerization on endothelial cells and regulation of opioid receptor expression on endothelium and in the spinal cord. This is followed by examining the translation of opioid receptor activity in tumor progression and metastases and nociception (pain). The relationship of pain inducing pathways in the spinal cord and tumor microenvironment that may regulate the opioid receptor expression and tumor growth are being pursued. Long-term goal of the laboratory is to develop strategies and therapeutics that will inhibit tumor progression without compromising analgesia. Some collaborative clinical studies are in progress to investigate the relationship of opioid use and cancer progression.


Divyanshoo R. Kohli, Yunfang Li, Sergey G. Khasabov, Pankaj Gupta, Lois J. Kehl, Marna E. Ericson, Julia Nguyen, Vinita Gupta, Robert P. Hebbel, Donald A. Simone, Kalpna Gupta. Pain related behaviors and neurochemical alterations in mice expressing sickle hemoglobin: Modulation by cannabinoids. Blood 2010, July 22, 116(3), 456-65  Figure 6E from this publication is on the cover of the Journal, ‘Blood’. PMID 20304807. An editorial commentary titled, “New era dawns on sickle pain” is also published on this paper on pages 311-12 of ‘Blood’ 116(3).

Bodempudi V, Ohlfest JR, Terai K, Zamora EA, Vogel RI, Gupta K, Hebbel RP, Dudek AZ. Blood outgrowth endothelial cell-based systemic delivery of antiangiogenic gene therapy for solid tumors. Cancer Gene Therapy (In Press), Advance online publication.

Gupta K, Schwartz R, Gupta P, Hebbel RP. Thrombospondin inhibits VEGF-induced endothelial survival and cell cycle progression. The Open Circulation and Vascular j. 2009; 2, 1-9.

Xu J, Liu X, Jiang Y, Hao H, Liu Z, Verfaillie C, Zweier J, *Gupta K and *Liu Z. MAPK/ERK signaling mediates stem cell differentiation into endothelial cells. J Cell Mol Med. 2008 Feb; Epub ahead of print PMID: 18266967  (*Communicating and senior authors)

Weber ML, Farooqui M, Nguyen J, Ansonoff M, Pintar JE, Hebbel RP, Gupta K. Morphine induces mesangial cell proliferation and glomerulopathy via kappa-opioid receptors. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2008 Jun;294(6):F1388-97.

Farooqui M, Li Y, Rogers T, Poonawala T, Griffin RJ, Song CW & Gupta K. COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib prevents chronic morphine-induced promotion of angiogenesis, tumor growth, metastasis and mortality, without compromising analgesia. Br J Cancer 2007; 97, 1523-31.

Gupta M, Yunfang Li and Gupta K. Opioids as promoters and regulators of angiogenesis. In, Angiogenesis: Basic Science and Clinical Applications. Maragoudakis ME and Papadimitriou E, Eds. Transworld Research Network, 2007, 303-318.

Gupta K and Stephenson EJ. Opioid receptors in endothelium. In, Endothelial Biomedicine, William C Aird, Ed. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. Pp 451-460. 2007.

Farooqui, M, Stephenson JA, Geng Zhen H, Yee D and Gupta K. Naloxone acts as an antagonist of estrogen receptor in MCF7 cancer cells. Mol Cancer Therap 2006; 5(3): 611-20.

Chen C, Farooqui M, Gupta K. Morphine stimulates VEGF-like signaling in mouse retinal endothelial cells. Current Neurovascular Res 2006; 3, 171-180.

Gupta K, Kshirsagar S, Schwartz R, Chang L, Law PY, Yee D, Hebbel RP. Morphine stimulates angiogenesis by activating pro-angiogenic and survival-promoting signaling and promotes breast tumor growth. Cancer Res 2002: 62, 4991-8.