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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 472--473

Prof. K. P. Gupta: An exemplary pharmacologist of India

Syed Ziaur Rahman 
 Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Syed Ziaur Rahman
Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh - 202 002, Uttar Pradesh

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Rahman SZ. Prof. K. P. Gupta: An exemplary pharmacologist of India.Indian J Pharmacol 2017;49:472-473

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Rahman SZ. Prof. K. P. Gupta: An exemplary pharmacologist of India. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 4 ];49:472-473
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Prof. K. P. Gupta died after prolonged illness at the age of approximately 80 years on April 13, 2017, in the afternoon at his residence in New Delhi. He was born in December 1936 at Banda District of Uttar Pradesh and is survived by his wife, one son, and two daughters. After basic education, he graduated in medicine (MBBS) from King George Medical College, Lucknow (now KGMU). His topic of research in the postgraduation (MD) was “A neuropharmacological study of central cardiac control.” After postgraduation, he immediately joined the newly created Department of Pharmacology of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, as lecturer in 1964. When he joined, his teacher and senior colleague of KGMU, Dr. P. N. Saxena and Dr. Om Chandra, were already working as professor and reader in the department, respectively. Prof. P. N. Saxena, Founding Head of the Department,[1] specially encouraged him to make his career in experimental pharmacology.

Very soon, Dr. K. P. Gupta made his place as a pivotal teacher and an exemplary researcher in the Department of Pharmacology. He was promoted to the post of “Reader” and “Professor” and led the Department as “Head” during August 8, 1987–August 7, 1990. During his career, he secured “Wellcome Trust Scholarship” and “Common Wealth Fellowship” on different occasions to pursue further research work in England.[2],[3] In England, he had a chance to work with a renowned pharmacologist of the world, Dr. Wilhelm Samuel Feldberg (1900–1993). Dr. Feldberg is famous for his work on snake venom and discovered liberation of histamine and other endogenous mediators in it, which later on helped in the identification and partial isolation of slow-reacting substance of anaphylaxis. He also assisted Dr. Henri Dale in his research work on chemical neurotransmission, which fetched him Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Dr. K. P. Gupta started working in the area of thermoregulation with Prof. Wilhelm S. Feldberg and Prof. P. N. Saxena and did some significant research work such as the role of pyrogen and antipyretics on prostaglandin activity in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and morphine hyperglycemia. Dr. A. S. Hilton in a chapter on the life and contribution of Feldberg [4] wrote, “Sabin Wendlandt and I were working in the Pharmacology Department of the School of Pharmacy of London University, only a few miles away from the National Institute of Medical Research at Mill Hill and Professor Feldberg kindly invited the two of us to spend one day a week in his laboratory, collaborating with him into the role of prostaglandin. In 1971, he and Saxena (PN Saxena) had recently confirmed our experiments on PGE1 and showed that an infusion of PGE1 into the ventricles could produce a sustained fever. They also were able to find a biologically active substance in cerebro-spinal fluid collected from the third cerebral ventricle. Saxena had returned to India by the time Sabine Wendlandt and I joined Professor Feldberg; however, we were joined by another scientist from India, K. P. Gupta. We developed a method for perfusing the cerebral ventricle system from the lateral ventricle to the cistern magna and collected the perfusate. We were able to show that in control situation no prostaglandins could be detected in the perfusing fluid whereas during fever the levels were elevated. When we administered a variety of antipyretic agents, not only did the fever reduce, but also the levels of prostaglandins. Our initial results on the prostaglandins and their release during pyrogen fever were presented by Professor Feldberg himself at the first Thermoregulation Symposium held in San Francisco in 1972.”[5] Later, experiments by Dey, Feldberg, Gupta, Milton, and Wendlandt in 1974 showed that this sodium fever was completely unrelated to the bacterial pyrogen fever in that it was not abolished by antipyretic dugs nor was there any evidence of the release of prostaglandins during hypothermia.

Dr. K. P. Gupta published around fifty research papers in highly reputed journals such as British Journal of Pharmacology, Journal of Physiology (London), Indian Journal of Pharmacology, and Archives Internationales De Pharmacodynamie et de Therapie, with scientists such as Dr. Wilhelm Feldberg, Dr. K. P. Bhargava, Dr. P. N. Saxena, Dr. A. S. Milton, Dr. Sabine Wendlandt, Dr. P. K. Dey, Dr. Om Chandra, Dr. K. C. Singhal and Dr. R. A. Khan. His citations could be found in the textbook of Goodman and Gilman (1975),[6] periodicals such as Nature (1972),[7] Science Reporter (1974),[8] Pharmacological Reviews (1972, 1975),[9],[10] and Tropical Diseases Bulletin.[11]

In the corporate life of the university, he played a significant role in the establishment of Interdisciplinary Brain Research Centre at JNMC and Neuropharmacology Laboratory at Department of Pharmacology. On October 2, 2012, he was invited to the JNMC as guest during the valedictory function of the college's golden jubilee celebrations.

The author of this obituary used to call him on and off after his retirement in 1996 and tried to invite him during the National Workshop on Alternatives to Animal Experimentation in 2014 and during the 14th Annual Conference of Society of Pharmacovigilance, India (SoPICON 2014), but due to his ailing health, he could not make out. However, he suggested to call his brother-in-law Dr. S. C. L. Gupta, Coordinator, Pharmacovigilance Program of Indian Medical Association, IMA Headquarters, New Delhi.

Let us pay our sincere condolence to his bereaved family and pray the Almighty God to lay his soul rest in peace (Amen).


Some reprints of original research papers and curriculum vitae of Prof. K. P. Gupta are extant in the Library of Ibn Sina Academy ( The author is thankful to the Library for providing resource material to write the above obituary.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Rahman SZ, Khan RA. Late professor P N Saxena: A teacher of excellence. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2010;1:111-2.
2Aiman U. Department of Pharmacology, Souvenir cum Scientific Proceedings, Workshop cum CME on Alternatives to Animal Experimentation in Medical Science Education. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, AMU, Aligarh; 2014. p. 17-8.
3Aiman U, Rana MA. Department of Pharmacology, SOPICON-2014 (14th Annual Conference of Society of Pharmacovigilance, India and International Symposium on Safe Medicine and Safe Patient. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, AMU, Aligarh; 2014. p. 19-22.
4Hilton AS, Feldberg WS. His contribution to the pharmacology of thermoregulation. In: Zeisberger E, editor. The Thermal Balance in Health and Disease: Recent Basic Research and Clinical Progress. Switzerland, Basel:Birkhäuser; 1994. p. 9-15.
5The Pharmacology of Thermoregulation. San Francisco, Basel: Krager; 1973. p. 302-10.
6Goodman LS, Gilman A. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 5th ed. Mac millan publishing co inc: USA; 1975. p. 646-52.
7Prostaglandins, pain and fever. Nature 1972;240:377-8.
8Science Reporter. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Vol. 2. New Delhi; 1974. p. 264.
9Goldberg LI. Cardiovascular and renal actions of dopamine: potential clinical applications. Pharmacol Rev 1972;24:1-29.
10Goldberg SR. Stimuli associated with drug injections as events that control behavior. Pharmacol Rev 1975; 27:325-40.
11Browne SG. A new method of antifilarial method. Trop Dis Bull 1971;68:7-12.