De-Pei Li, MD, MSc

Photo of De-Pei Li, MD, MSc


Associate Professor


My research interest falls in neural control of circulation in physiological and disease conditions such as hypertension. The central nervous system is critically involved in the development of hypertension. I have performed and published extensively in the neural control of cardiovascular function. These findings significantly advance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of hypertension. The ongoing projects in the lab are to explore the neural mechanisms responsible for stress-induced hypertension.

Academic Information

Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Cardiovascular physiology and neurophysiology
  • Synaptic mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders 
  • Stress-induced neuro-endocrine and cardiovascular disorders

Areas of Expertise

  • Synaptic plasticity during neurological disorders
  • Ion channel function 
  • Neuro-endocrinology

Education & Training

Medical School

HeBei Medical University

Post-Graduate School

HeBei Medical University

Awards & Honors

  • 9/2011 Fellow of American Heart Association (F.A.H.A) affiliated with the Council for High Blood Pressure research
  • 4/2005 The Neural Control and Autonomic Regulation Research Recognition Award. The 35th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and Experimental Biology, 2005
  • 4/2004 Michael J. Brody young investigator travel award for Experimental Biology 2004.


  • 1. Ma H, Chen SR, Chen H, Zhou JJ, Li DP, Pan HL. α2δ-1 couples to NMDA receptors in the hypothalamus to sustain sympathetic vasomotor activity in hypertension. J Physiol. 2018 Sep;596(17):4269-4283. doi: 10.1113/JP276394. Epub 2018.
  • 2. Ma H, Chen SR, Chen H, Li L, Li DP, Zhou JJ, Pan HL. α2δ-1 Is Essential for Sympathetic Output and NMDA Receptor Activity Potentiated by Angiotensin II in the Hypothalamus. J Neurosci. 2018 Jun 19. pii: 0447-18. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0447-18.2018.
  • 3. Li DP, Li YL, Li J, Wang S. Neural Mechanisms of Autonomic Dysfunction in Neurological Diseases. Neural Plast. 2017;2017:2050191. doi: 10.1155/2017/2050191. 
  • 4. Zhou JJ, Gao Y, Zhang X, Kosten TA, Li DP. Enhanced Hypothalamic NMDA Receptor Activity Contributes to Hyperactivity of HPA Axis in Chronic Stress in Male Rats. Endocrinology. 2018 Jan 30. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-03176. 
  • 5. Li DP, Zhou JJ, Zhang J, Pan HL. CaMKII Regulates Synaptic NMDA Receptor Activity of Hypothalamic Presympathetic Neurons and Sympathetic Outflow in Hypertension. J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 1;37(44):10690-10699. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2141-17.2017.
  • 6. Chen SR, Chen H, Zhou JJ, Pradhan G, Sun Y, Pan HL, and Li DP. Ghrelin Receptors Mediate Ghrelin-Induced Excitation of AgRP/NPY But Not POMC Neurons. J Neurochem. 2017 Aug;142(4):512-520. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14080.
  • 7. Gao Y, Zhou JJ, Zhu Y, Wang L, Kosten TA, Zhang X, and Li DP. Neuroadaptations of presynaptic and postsynaptic GABAB receptor function in the paraventricular nucleus in response to chronic unpredictable stress. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2017 Sep;174(17):2929-2940. doi: 10.1111/bph.13924.
  • 8. Coldren KM, Li DP, Kline DD, Hasser EM, Heesch CM. Acute hypoxia activates neuroendocrine, but not pre-sympathetic, neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus: Differential role of nitric oxide. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2017 Jun 1;312(6):R982-R995. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00543.2016.
  • 9. Zhou JJ, Gao Y, Kosten TA, Zhao Z, Li DP. Acute stress diminishes M-current contributing to elevated activity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Neuropharmacology. 2017 Mar 1;114:67-76. PMCID: PMC5183563.
  • 10. Qiao X, Zhou JJ, Li DP, Pan HL. Src Kinases Regulate Glutamatergic Input to Hypothalamic Presympathetic Neurons and Sympathetic Outflow in Hypertension. Hypertension. 2017 Jan;69(1):154-162. Epub 2016 Oct 31.
  • 11. Klein SM, Vykoukal J, Li DP, Pan HL, Zeitler K, Alt E, Geis S, Felthaus O, Prantl L. Peripheral Motor and Sensory Nerve Conduction following Transplantation of Undifferentiated Autologous Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells in a Biodegradable U.S. Food and Drug Administration-Approved Nerve Conduit. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Jul;138(1):132-9. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000002291
  • 12. Gao Y, Zhou JJ, Zhu Y, Kosten T, Li DP. Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress Induces Loss of GABA Inhibition in Corticotrophin-Releasing Hormone-Expressing Neurons Through NKCC1 Upregulation. Neuroendocrinology. 2017;104(2):194-208.PMID: 27077366
  • 13. Laumet G, Garriga J, Chen SR, Zhang Y, Li DP, Smith TM, Dong Y, Jelinek J, Cesaroni M, Issa JP, Pan HL. G9a is essential for epigenetic silencing of K(+) channel genes in acute-to-chronic pain transition. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Dec;18(12):1746-55. doi: 10.1038/nn.4165. Epub 2015 Nov 9.
  • 14. Li DP, Zhou JJ, Pan HL. Endogenous casein kinase-1 modulates NMDA receptor activity of hypothalamic presympathetic neurons and sympathetic outflow in hypertension. J Physiol. 2015 Oct 1;593(19):4439-52. doi: 10.1113/JP270831. PMID: 26174743
  • 15. Zhou JJ, Yuan F, Zhang Y, Li DP. Upregulation of Orexin Receptor in Paraventricular Nucleus Promotes Sympathetic Outflow in Obese Zucker Rats. Neuropharmacology. 2015 Dec;99:481-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.08.012. PMID: 26277341.
  • 16. Shi M, Cui F, Liu AJ, Ma HJ, Cheng M, Song SX, Yuan F, Li DP, Zhang Y. The protective effects of chronic intermittent hypobaric hypoxia pretreatment against collagen-induced arthritis in rats. J Inflamm (Lond). 2015 Mar 25;12:23.
  • 17. Wu Z, Kim ER, Sun H, Xu Y, Mangieri LR, Li DP, Pan HL, Xu Y, Arenkiel BR, Tong Q. GABAergic projections from lateral hypothalamus to paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus promote feeding. J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 25;35(8):3312-8.