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Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D.

William Beaumont Professor; Chair Emeritus
Pharmacological and Physiological Science


Ph.D., West Virginia, 1962

Previous Positions
Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)
West Virginia University
University of Virginia
College de France

Course Director
Medical School Pharmacology Course
University of Virginia 1972-1974

Princicples of Pharmacology
Saint Louis University 1974-present

Principles of Pharmacology (Specific Topics)
Drug Absorption and Distribution
Drug Biotransformation and Excretion
General Mechanism of Drug Action
Factors Modifying Drug Action
General Principles of Autonomic Drugs
cholinergic Agonists and Antagonists
Adrenergic Agonists and Antagonists
Neuromuscular Relaxants
Introduction to Chemotherapy
Aminoglycocides and Tetracyclines
AntiFungal Agents
Neuroscience Module
Anti Parkinson Drugs
Sedatives and Hypnotics
Cell Biology Modules
General Principles of Autonomic Nervous System
Cholinergic Mechanisms
Adrenergic Mechanisms
Cardiovascular Modules
Review Autonomic Nervous System
vasoactive Mediators
Anti Hypertensive Drugs
Anti Anginal Drugs
PPYG 501, 503
Drug Absorption and Distribution
Drug Biotransmiformation and Excretion
General principles - Autonomic Nervous System
Cholinergic Neurotransmission
Adrenergic neurotransmission
PPYG 511, 513
Drug Biotransformation and Excretion
Factors Modifying Drug Action
Drug Design and Development
Drugs Affecting Synaptic/Neuroeffector Junctions
Adrenergic Agonists and Antagonists
Cholinergic Agonists and Antagonist
Antihypertensive Drugs
Introduction to Neuropharmacology
Capstone Course
CAPS Course
Human Physiolgoy Course


Catecholamine neurons (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) exert important neurotransmitter functions in the central and peripheral nervous system and have been implicated in a wide variety of pathophysiological conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, drug abuse and essential hypertension.

Recently it has been established that catecholamine neurons contain a variety of other chemical mediators or cotransmitters including peptides such as neuropeptide Y (NPY) and galanin as well as adenine nucleotides such as ATP. Each of these are capable of exerting pre and postjunctional actions on specific receptors and via different signaling mechanisms. The focus of research ongoing in this laboratory is to come to an understanding of the mechanism(s) which control the synthesis and release of these cotransmitters. In addition, we are concentrating our effects in coming to an understanding the mechanism(s) of action of these cotransmitters in normal conditions and the role that they possibly play in contributing to various disease states.

Our research strategy involves using a multifaceted approach including biochemical, neurochemical, electrophysiological and molecular techniques at the cellular, molecular and integrated level. Specifically, we are studying the receptor subtypes that mediate the various actions of these cotransmitters as well as the intracellular signaling mechanisms that carry them out. These studies will increase our understanding on the mechanism(s) by which a variety of cotransmitters exert their pre and postjunctional actins in the central and autonomic nervous system. These results will also have important implications for drug development and in defining the pathophysiological mechanisms of a variety of important diseases.


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Chen X, DiMaggio DA, Han S-P, and Westfall TC (1997) Autoreceptor-induced inhibition of neuropeptide Y release from PC12 cells is mediated by Y2 receptors. Amer. J. Physiol. 273:H1737-H1744.

Han S-P, Chen X, Wu YM, Naes L, and Westfall TC (1997) Elevated neuropeptide Y gene expression and release during hypoglycemic stress. Peptides 18:1335-1340.

Han S-P, Yang C-L, Chen X, Naes L, Cox BF and Westfall TC (1998) Direct evidence for the role of neuropeptide Y in sympathetic nerve stimulation induced vasoconstriction. Amer. J. Physiol. 274 (Heart and Circ. Physiol. 43):H290-H295.

Han S-P, Chen X, Cox B, Yang CL, Wu Y-M, Naes L and Westfall TC (1998) Role of neuropeptide Y in cold stress induced hypertension. Peptides 19:351-358.

McCullough LA, Egan TM and Westfall TC (1998) Neuropeptide Y inhibition of calcium channels in PC12 cells. Amer. J. Physiol. 274 (Cell Physiol. 43):C1290-C1297.

McCullough LA, Egan TM and Westfall TC (1998) Neuropeptide receptors involved in calcium channel regulation in PC12 cells. Regul. Peptides 75-76:101-107.

Macarthur H, Westfall TC, Riley DP, Misko TP and Salvemini D (2000) Inactivation of catecholamines by superoxide gives new insights on the pathogenesis of septic shock. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 977(17):9753-9758.

Hoang D, Macarthur H, Gardner A and Westfall TC (2002) Endothelin-induced modulation of neuropeptide-Y and norepinephrine release from the rat mesenteric bed. Am. J. Physiol(Heart Circ Physiol)283:(4)H1523-H1530.

Hoang, D., Macarthur, H., Gardner, A., Yang, C-Z, and Westfall, T.C. Prostanoid induced modulation of neuropeptide Y and noradrenaline release from the rat mesenteric bed. Auton. and Autacoid Pharmacol. 23:141-147, 2003.

Macarthur, H., Westfall, T.C., et al. Modulation of serum cytokine levels by a novel superoxide dismutase mimetic M40401 in an “E. coli model” of bacteremic septic shock. Critical Care Medicine, 31:237-245, 2003.

Kolo, L.L., Westfall, T.C. and Macarthur, H. Nitric oxide decreases the biological activity of norepinephrine resulting in altered vascular tone in the rat mesenteric arterial bed. Amer. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 286:H296-H303, 2004.

Westfall, T.C. Prejunctional effects of neuropeptide Y and its role as a cotransmitter. Handbook of Exp. Pharmacol. 162:139-183, 2004.

Kolo, L.L., Westfall, T.C. and Macarhtur, H. Modulation of neurotransmitter release by NO is altered in the mesenteric arterial bed of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Amer. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 10.1152 alpheart 00013, 2004.

Ochs, S., Westfall, T.C. and Macarthur, H. The separation and quantification of adrenochromes using high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. J. Neurosci Methods, 142:201-208, 2005.

Adewale, A.S., Macarthur, H. and Westfall, T.C. Neuropeptide Y induced modulation of dopamine synthesis in the striatum. Regulat. Peptides. 129:73-78, 2005.

Gardner, A., Westfall, T.C., and Macarthur, H. Endothelin (ET-1) induced inhibition of ATP release from PC12 cells is mediaated by the ETB receptor: Differential response to ET-1 on ATP, Neuropeptide Y and dopamine levels. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 313:1109-1117, 2005.

Gamber, K.M., Macarthur, H. and Westfall, T.C. Cannabinoids augment the release of neuropeptide Y in the rat hypothalamus. Neuropharm. 49:646-652, 2005.

Han, S., Chen, X., Yang, C-L., Vickery, L., Wu, Y., Naes, L., Macarthur, H. and Westfall, T.C. Influence of cold stress on neuropeptide Y and sympathetic neurotransmission. Peptides, 26:2603-2609, 2005.

Gupta, S., Westfall, T.C., Lechner, A.J. and Knuepfer, M.M. Teaching Principles of Cardiovascular Function in a Medical Student Laboratory. Advan. Physiol. Edu. 29:118-127, 2005.

Westfall, T.C., Yang, L.L., Chen, X., Naes, L., Vickery, L., Macarthur, H. and Han, S-P. A novel mechanism prevents the development of hypertension during cold stress. Autonomic and Autacoid Pharmacol. 25:171-177, 2005.

Westfall, T.C., Naes, L., Gardner, A. and Yang, C-L. Neuropeptide Y induced attenuation of catecholamine synthesis in the rat mesenteric arterial bed. J. Cardiovas. Pharmacol. 47:723-728, 2006.

Adewale, A.S., Macarthur, H. and Westfall, T.C. Neuropeptide Y-induced enhancement of the evoked release of newly synthesized dopamine in rat striatum mediation by Y2 receptors. Neuropharmacol. 52:1396-1402, 2007.

Cao, G., Gardner, A. and Westfall, T.C. Mechanism of dopamine mediated inhibition of neuropeptide Y release from pheochromocytoma cells (PC12 cells). Biochem. Pharmacol. 73:1446-1454, 2007.

Byku M, Macarthur H, Westfall TC Nerve stimulation induced overflow of neuropeptide Y and modulation by angiotensin II in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Nov;295(5):H2188-97. Epub 2008 Oct 3. PMID: 18835922

Macarthur H, Westfall TC, Wilken GH Oxidative stress attenuates NO-induced modulation of sympathetic neurotransmission in the mesenteric arterial bed of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Jan;294(1):H183-9. Epub 2007 Oct 26. PMID: 17965279

Westfall, Thomas C. and Westfall, David P. Neurotransmission: The Autonomic and Somatic Motor Nervous System. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 12th Edition, Chapter 8, pp. 171-218, Eds, L. Brunton, B. Chabner and B. Knollman, McGraw Hill, New York, 2011.

Westfall, Thomas C. and Westfall, David P. Adrenergic Agonists and Antagonists. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 12th Edition, Chapter 12, pp. 277-333, Eds, L. Brunton, B. Chabner and B. Knollman, McGraw Hill, New York, 2011.


National Heart, Lung, Blood Institution (NHLB I)
R01 HL60260, NPY-Induced Regulation of Sympathetic Neurotransmission
4/1/98-3/31/2009; PI: Thomas C. Westfall

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
T32-GM083060-21-25 Training Grant in Pharmacological Sciences
7/1/90-6/30/2015; PI: Thomas C. Westfall

Honors and Awards

International Fellowship Award
Internatinal Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR)

Macy Faculty Scholar Award
Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

Scholar of the Year, Saint Louis Univ ersity
Burlington Northern Foundation

Golden Apple Award, 1983
Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Wellcome Visiting Professor in Pharmacology
the Burroughs Wellcome Committee

Grass Traveling Scientise in Neuroscience
Grass Foundation

Professional Organizations and Associations

American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, ASPET, 1965
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1965
Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1966
American Heart Association, 1966
AHA - Council for High Blood Pressure Research, 1986
Society for Neuroscience, 1970
Association for Medical School Pharmacology Chairs (AMSPC), 1979
St. Louis Neurological Society, 1979
American Physiological society (APS), 1991
Association for Physiological Chairs, 1991