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Table of Contents    
NI FEATURE: JOURNEY THROUGH THE EONS-COMMENTARY
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 610-612

Founders of Indian Neurosciences: Professor Krishna Prasad Bhargava(5th October 1925- 16th August 1991)


1 Department of Neurosurgery, National Brain Research Institute, Manesar, Haryana, India
2 Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication15-May-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prakash N Tandon
Department of Neurosurgery, National Brain Research Institute, Manesar, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.232314

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How to cite this article:
Tandon PN, Bhargava B. Founders of Indian Neurosciences: Professor Krishna Prasad Bhargava(5th October 1925- 16th August 1991). Neurol India 2018;66:610-2

How to cite this URL:
Tandon PN, Bhargava B. Founders of Indian Neurosciences: Professor Krishna Prasad Bhargava(5th October 1925- 16th August 1991). Neurol India [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Aug 17];66:610-2. Available from: http://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2018/66/3/610/232314






Professor KP Bhargava, fondly called 'KP' by his friends and associates, was born on 5th October 1925 at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. His father Shri Shanker Prasad Bhargava was an economist and Director of Education in the erstwhile state of Alwar. Upto high school, his education was at Alwar, to be followed for his intermediate (+12) at the famous BNSD College at Kanpur. He passed both these examinations in first division. He joined the King George's Medical College in 1942 from where he graduated in 1947. He received a Certificate of Honour in Pharmacology along with several other prizes. This obviously determined his future specialization; obtaining MD (Pharmacology) in 1950. Besides having a bright academic career, KP was an accomplished sportsman who received a Badge of Honour for Tennis.

Even before his postgraduate degree, he was appointed Lecturer in Pharmacology. In 1954, he was awarded the Rockfeller Fellowship for post-doctoral studies at USA. He joined the renowned Professor of Pharmacology, Dr. Louis S Goodman at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, from where he obtained his PhD degree in just 20 months. His research was devoted to 'Neuropharmacological studies with rauwolfia alkaloids on vasoregulatory mechanisms'.

On return to his favorite Department of Pharmacology, he soon became Reader and then Professor. As Chairman of the Department from 1962 to 1984, he became the architect of one of the most dynamic and progressive departments of pharmacology in the country, primarily devoted to Neuro-Pharmacology. This was much before any departments were dedicated to basic neurosciences.

He strengthened the Department by adding a Chair of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry, which was unique for a Pharmacology Department in the country. It thus became the first Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. An Advanced Centre of Neuro-Pharmacology was established there by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). In addition the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Molecular Biology, the first in the country, was also established in the early 1970s.

Professor Bhargava's reputation was of an outstanding teacher, researcher and kind mentor which helped in attracting a large number of postgraduate students. Over 60 students worked under his guidance for their MD and PhD degrees.


  Research Contributions Top


Professor Bhargava employed pharmacological tools and techniques to delineate central nervous control mechanisms in the brain for cardiovascular functions, thermoregulation, emesis and hormone release. He studied psychopharmacology dealing with aggressive and depressive behavior [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12]
Figure 1: Dr. KP Bhargava presenting the poster related to his work in an international conference that led to two seminal publications: Bhargava KP, Borison HL. Effects of Rauwolfia alkaloids on hypothalamic, medullary and spinal regulatory systems. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1955;115:464; and, Bhargava KP, Borison HL. Comparative effects of various Rauwolfia alkaloids on centrally evoked vasopressor responses. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1957;119:395

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Figure 2: Synthesis of methaqualone, mandrax melsedin quaaludes, a sedative and hypnotic medication

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Thus, utilizing microinjection techniques, he elucidated the nature of alpha-adrenoreceptors in the specific brain stem nuclei concerned with the integration of the baroreflex (These included nucleus tractus solitarius, dorsal motor nucleus of vagus, nucleus ambiguus, nucleus coeruleus and lateral medullary reticular pressure area). In addition, he found that besides adrenergic and serotonergic receptors, which were located in the mesencephalic nucleus dorsalis raphe which modulate cardiovascular activity, GABA-ergic and Opiod-ergic mechanisms also play a role in cardiovascular control.

Investigating the patients with hypertension, he observed that metabolites of brain catecholamines- 3-Methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) were increased in the cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) proportionate to the severity of hypertension. This landmark study was published in the journal 'Science'.

He demonstrated that activation of noradrenaline (NA) neurons of the locus coeruleus causes hyperthermia, while activation of serotonergic (5-HT) neurons of the nucleus raphe medianus induces hypothermia. A balance between brain NA and 5-HT is essential for thermoregulation.

Neural mechanisms of emesis were another area of his research interest. He identified noradrenaline, dopamine, histamine and encephalin receptors in the emetic chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ). Mechanisms of emesis associated with drugs (opiates, emetine, salicylates etc), motion sickness and post anesthetics' emesis were worked out.

Investigating aggressive behavior in rats, he observed that dopamine facilitated and noradrenaline inhibited aggression. Furthermore, histamine appears to have a dual role. He found that measures which increase brain amines have an antidepressant effect.

No doubt, there were several other areas to which significant contributions were made. These included central mechanisms regulating hormone release, investigations on the synthesis of methaqualone, and studies on several herbal drugs including rauwolfia.

He published around 350 scientific papers in a large number of national and international journals, which included Indian Drugs, Indian Journal of Medical Research, Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Current Science, British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy, Biochemical Pharmacology, Brain Research Archives, International De Pharmacodynamie Et De Therapie, Archives Der Pharmazie, Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, Science, Nature and several others. A list of his publications is available in Memoirs of the Indian National Science Academy.


  Service to Government Agencies Top


He served as member of the Indian Pharmacopeia Committee, the Drug Technical Advisory Board and the Essential Drug Committee of the Government of India and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)


  Academic Contributions Top


Besides nurturing and strengthening the Department of Pharmacology, he served as the Dean and Principal of his alma mater from 1978 to 1984. Following superannuation from the college, he worked as a Visiting Professor at the Kuwait University School of Medicine (1984-1988). He was invited as a Visiting Professor by several Universities in Canada, USA, and the Netherlands. He was the driving spirit behind the Indian Pharmacological Society, and served as the Founding Editor of its journal as well as its President. He conceived and catalyzed the establishment of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences, which now is the representative body of basic neurosciences in the country. He, along with his friend Professor UK Sheth of Bombay, promoted Clinical Pharmacology in the country.


  Awards and Recognitions Top


His scientific contributions were recognized by a Fellowship of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (FAMS) and the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). He was elected member of the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO). He was recipient of the Canadian Heart Foundation Award, Basanti Devi Amir Chand Award of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Sir Ram Nath Chopra Oration Award of the Indian Pharmacological Society (IPS), Dr BC Roy National Oration Award of the Medical Council of India (MCI), Shri Amrut Mody Research Award, Dr Achyanta Lakshmipati Oration Award of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) and Dr TS Tirumurti Memorial Lecture Award of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).


  Some Personal Reminiscences Top


KP was three years senior to me (PNT) in the medical college, but in those days when the number of students was much smaller, there was a unique relationship amongst us. In true Lucknow culture, we looked upto our seniors with respect, and they in turn, extended protective affectionate bonding. Believe it or not, it was a life-long relationship hard to believe in today's environment. However, it was only in 1961, when I returned to the College to initiate Neurosurgery that the bond turned into a personal friendship, no doubt strengthened by our mutual interest in neurosciences. We, along with some other friends, formed a small social group, “The Ramblers,” who met for coffee every Saturday night and a family dinner once a month. This made our friendship into a personal bonding. One of the aims of this group was to promote academic excellence in the College. Thus, when I wished to study the effects of raised intracranial pressure in an experimental model, it was KP who arranged for it in his experimental laboratory with full support of his laboratory staff and animal house. Even after my leaving Lucknow, our interaction continued and when he became the Principal of the College, I was privileged to be invited as the Chief Guest at the Annual Day Function and Convocation.

KP was a man full of vigour with a zest for life, an instinct to excel and a pleasant personality. He knew how to transfer his enthusiasm for research to his team whose loyalty he commanded instinctively. He had a happy family. His wife Savitri (Tangri) was a gracious lady with Masters in Sanskrit and Bachelors in Music. He had two sons and two daughters. The eldest daughter and the youngest son opted for a medical career. The coauthor of this writeup (BB), currently Professor of Cardiology at AIIMS, New Delhi, is his youngest son and has recently assumed charge as Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research.

Professor Bhargava was a doyen of Pharmacology and a great biomedical scientist and an excellent teacher. His memory and fame will, however, remain for years to come due to his outstanding research contributions and the large number of students, researchers trained and inspired by him.



 
  References Top

1.
Bhargava KP, Jain IP, Saxena AK, Sinha JN, Tangri KK. Central adrenoceptors and cholinoceptors in cardiovascular control. Br J Pharmacol 1978;63:7-15.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.
Bhargava KP, Tangri KK. The central vasomotor effects of 5-hydroxytryptamie. Br J Pharmacol Chemother 1959;14:411-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.
Bhargava KP. Recent trends in Neuropharmacology of central vasomotor loci. Indian J of Physiol and Pharm 1960, 4:103-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Bhargava KP, Jaju BP, Tangri KK. Mechanism of the central hypotensive action of guanethidine. Br J Pharmacol Chemother 1966;27:491-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.
Tangri KK, Bhargava KP. The central hypotensive action of 1-hydrazinophthalazine (C-5968). Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1960;125:331-42.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.
Tangri KK, Bhargava KP. Localisation of the central site of hypotensive action of chlorpromazine. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1960;127:274-84  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Bhargava KP, Gupta PC, Chandra O. Effect of ablation of the chemoreceptor trigger zone (CT zone) on the emetic response to intraventricular injection of apomorphine and emetine in the dog. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1961;134:329-31.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Bhargava KP, Chandra O. Anti-emetic activity of phenothiazines in relation to their chemical structure Br J Pharmacol Chemother 1963;21:436-40.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Bhargava KP, Dixit KS. Role of the chemoreceptor trigger zone in histamine-induced emesis. Br J Pharmacol 1968;34:508-13.  Back to cited text no. 9
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10.
Bhargava KP, Dixit KS, Palit G. Nature of histamine receptors in the emetic chemoreceptor trigger zone. Br J Pharmacol 1976;57:211-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
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11.
Bhargava KP, Daas M, Gupta GP, Gupta MB. Study of central neurotransmitters in stress-induced gastric ulceration in albino rats. Br J Pharmacol. 1980;68:765-72.  Back to cited text no. 11
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12.
Bhargava KP, Gupta GP, Gupta MB. Central GABA-ergic mechanism in stress-induced gastric ulceration. Br J Pharmacol 1985;84:619-23.  Back to cited text no. 12
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    Figures

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