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Qian Li, Ph.D., M.S.

Qian Li, Ph.D., M.S.

Headshot of Qian Li
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine

Research Interests

Gastrointestinal neuroscience; Chronic visceral pain more


Dr. Li has a strong research background in molecular and neuronal pharmacology in the central nervous system, especially in the serotonergic system. Currently, her research interests are the regulation in the brain-gut axis, an important neurocircuitry that plays an essential role for interaction of gastrointestinal system and central nervous system. Specifically, Dr. Li's research is focused on the effects of brain-gut axis on the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia. more


  • Assistant Professor of Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.S.; Chongqing University (China) (1985)
  • Ph.D.; Loyola University of Chicago (Illinois) (1997)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Additional research on PubMed:



Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

  1. Li, Q., Muma, N.A. and Van de Kar, L.D.  Chronic fluoxetine induces a gradual desensitization of 5-HT1A receptors: reductions in hypothalamic and midbrain Gi and Go proteins and in neuroendocrine responses to a 5-HT1A agonist.  J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.  279:1035-1042; 1996.
  2. Li, Q., Muma, N.A., Battaglia, G. and VandeKar, L.D.  A desensitization of hypothalamic 5-HT1A receptors by repeated injections of paroxetine: Reduction in the levels of G(i) and G(o) proteins and neuroendocrine responses, but not in the density of 5-HT1A receptors, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  282:1581-1590; 1997.
  3. Murphy, D.L., Wichems, C., Li, Q. and Heils, A.  Molecular Manipulations as Tools for Enhancing Our Understanding of 5-HT Neurotransmission. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences.  20:246-252; 1999.
  4. Li, Q., Wichems, C., Heils, A., Van de Kar, L.D., Lesch, K.P. and Murphy, D.L.  Reduction of 5-HT1A-Mediated  Temperature and Neuroendocrine Responses and 5-HT1A Binding Sites in 5-HT transporter Knockout Mice.  J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.  291:999-1007; 1999.
  5. Greenberg, B.D., Li, Q. Lucas, L.R. Hu, S., Sirota, L.A., Benjamin, J., Lesch, K.P., Hamer, D., and Murphy, D.L.  Association between the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism and personality traits in a primarily female population sample.  Amer. J. Med. Genet.  96:202-216; 2000.
  6. Serres, F., Li, Q., Garcia, F., Raap, D.K., Battaglia, G., Muma, N.A., and Van de Kar, L.D.  Evidence that G(z)-proteins couple to hypothalamic 5-HT1A receptors in vivo.  Journal of Neuroscience.  20:3095-3103; 2000.
  7. Li, Q., Wichems, C., Heils, A., Lesch, K.P. and Murphy, D.L.  Reduction in the density and expression, but not G protein coupling, of 5-HT1A receptors in 5-HT transporter knockout mice: gender and brain region differences.  Journal of Neuroscience.  20:7888-7895; 2000.
  8. Murphy, D.L., Li, Q., Engel, S., Wichems, C., Andrews, A., Lesch, K.P., and Uhl, G.  Genetic perspectives on the serotonin transporter.  Brain Research Bulletin.  56:487-494; 2001.
  9. Li, Q., Wichems, C. M., Ma, L., Van de Kar L.D., Garcia F., and Murphy D.L.  Brain-region specific alterations of 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors in 5-HT transporter knockout mice.  J. Neurochemistry.  84:1256-1265; 2003.
  10. Holmes, Andrew, Li, Qian, Gold, Eric, Murphy, Dennis L., and Crawley, Jacqueline.  An anxiety-related phenotype in serotonin transporter null mutant mice; the influence of genetic background.  Genes, Brain and Behavior.  2: 365-380; 2003.
  11. Li, Qian, Ma, Li, Innis, Robert B., Seneca, Nicholas, Ichise, Masanori, Huang, Henry, Laruelle, Marc, and Murphy, Dennis L.  Pharmacologic and Genetic Characterization of Two Selective Serotonin Transporter Ligands: 2-[2-(dimethylaminomethylphenylthio)]-5- fluoromethylphenylamine (AFM) and 3-amino-4-[2-(dimethylaminomethylphenylthio)] benzonitrile (DASB).  Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  208:481-486; 2004.
  12. Singh, P., Cobb, S., Rengifo-Cam, W., Deng, X., Willis, W., and Li, Q.  Locomotor activity and behavior of mutant mice deleted for gastrin gene expression.  J. Physiol Pharmacol. 55:269-278; 2004.
  13. Li, Q., Holmes, A., Ma, L., Van de Kar, L.D., Garcia, F., and Murphy, D.L.  Medial hypothalamic 5-HT1A receptors regulate neuroendocrine responses to stress and exploratory locomotor activity: Application of recombinant adenovirus containing 5-HT1A sequences.  J.Neurosci. 24, 10868-10877, 2004.
  14. Li, Q.  Cellular and molecular alterations in mice with deficient and reduced serotonin transporters. Molecular Neurobiology.  34(3): 51, 2006.
  15. Li, Q, Deng, XL, Singh, P., Significant increase in the aggressive behavior of transgenic mice over-expressing peripheral progastrin peptides: associated changes in CCK2 and serotonin receptors in the CNS. Neuropsychopharmacology. 32(8):1813-1821, 2007,
  16. Jiang X, Wang J, Luo T, Li Q. Impaired hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and its feedback regulation in serotonin transporter knockout mice. Psychoneuroendocrinology  34:317-331, 2009.
  17. Li Q. Cellular and molecular alterations in animal models of serotonin transporter disruption: A comparison between developmental and adult stages, Experimental Models in Serotonin Transporter Research, edited by Allan V. Kalueff and Justin L. Laporte, Cambridge University Press, PP 43-77, 2010
  18. Dai Y, Dudek NL, Li Q, Fowler SC, Muma NA  Striatal expression of a calmodulin fragment improved motor function, weight loss, and neuropathology in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease. J.Neurosci. 29: 11550-11559, 2009
  19. Rossi DV, Dai Y, Thomas P, Carrasco GA, DonCarlos LL, Muma NA, Li Q  Estradiol-induced desensitization of 5-HT(1A) receptor signaling in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus is independent of estrogen receptor-beta. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35:1023-1033, 2010
  20. Liu, L., Li, Q., Sapolsky, R., Liao, M., Mehta, K., Bhargava, A., Pasricha, P. J. Transient gastric irritation in the neonatal rats leads to changes in hypothalamic CRF expression, depression- and anxiety-like behavior as adults. PLoS One 6, e19498, 2011
  21. Li, Q, Luo, T, Jiang, X, Wang, J. Anxiolytic effects of 5-HT(1A) receptors and anxiogenic effects of 5-HT(2C) receptors in the amygdala of mice. Neuropharmacology. 62(1): 474-84, 2012.
  22. Creech, R. D., Li, Q., Carrasco, G. A., Van de Kar, L. D., and Muma, N. A. Estradiol induces partial desensitization of serotonin 1A receptor signaling in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and alters expression and interaction of RGSZ1and Gαz,Neuropharmacology.62(5-6):2040-2049, 2012.
  23. McAllister, C. E., Creech, R. D., Kimball, P. A., Muma, N. A., and Li, Q. GPR30 is necessary for estradiol-induced desensitization of 5-HT1A receptor signaling in the paraventricular nucleus of the rat hypothalamus, Psychoneuroendocrinology., 37: 1248-1260, 2012
  24. Li, Q., Sullivan, N.R., McAllister, C.E., Van de Kar, L.D., Muma, N.A., Estradiol accelerates the effects of fluoxetine on serotonin 1A receptor signaling. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2012. in press.

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