Dragana Komnenov, Ph.D.

Dragana Komnenov, Ph.D.



Dragana Komnenov, Ph.D.

Office Address

 VA LL311

Position Title

 Assistant Professor

Areas of Interest

Neuro-cardiovascular mechanisms of diet- and stress-induced hypertension


 My research is centerd on understanding how lifestyle factors such as diet and psychological stress contribute to the development of high blood pressure (hypertension). Specifically, on the diet side of things, I am interested in investigating how the fructose (i.e., high fructose corn syrup) component of sugar causes cardiovascular derangement and salt sensitivity of blood pressure. Additionally, these pathophysiological mechanisms are further complicated by psychological stress, which is a common human condition that is typically accompanied with sugar-centric diet. I investigate these mechanisms using both the preclinical model as well as in human individuals via retrospective studies and prospective interventions in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. My goal is to generate implementable strategies that will result in improved blood pressure management both in the context of CKD and hypertension.


  1. Osborne M, Bernard A, Falkowski E, Peterson D, Vavilikolanu, Komnenov D. Longitudinal Associations of Dietary Fructose and Psychological Stress with Vascular Aging Index and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in the CARDIA Cohort. 2023 Preprint doi: ttps://doi.org/10.1101/2023.10.03.23296515
  2. Kim P, Nadarajan V, Ahmed M, Furman K, Gurm Z, Kale P, Khoury Z, Koussa S, LaBuda D, Mekjian M, Polamarasetti P, Simo L, Thill C, Wittenberg S, Dhar S, Komnenov D. The associations of different antihypertensive medications, steroids, beta blockers and comorbidities with COVID-19 outcomes in a mostly Black cohort with and without chronic kidney disease: a retrospective study. Covid. 2023; 3:682-692.
  3. Komnenov D, Rossi NF. Fructose-induced salt-sensitive blood pressure differentially affects sympathetically mediated aortic stiffness in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. Physiol Rep. 2023 May;11(9):e15687. doi: 10.14814/phy2.15687. PMID: 37161090 Free PMC article.
  4. Levanovich PE, Daugherty AM, Komnenov D, Rossi NF. Dietary fructose and high salt in young male Sprague Dawley rats induces salt-sensitive changes in renal function in later life. Physiol Rep. 2022 Sep;10(18):e15456. doi: 10.14814/phy2.15456. PMID: 36117446 Free PMC article.
  5. Khor BH, Komnenov D, Rossi NF. Impact of Dietary Fructose and High Salt Diet: Are Preclinical Studies Relevant to Asian Societies? Nutrients. 2022 Jun 17;14(12):2515. doi: 10.3390/nu14122515. PMID: 35745245 Review.
  6. Das S, Komnenov D, Newhouse L, Rishi AK, Rossi NF. Paraventricular Nucleus V1a Receptor Knockdown Blunts Neurocardiovascular Responses to Acute Stress in Male Rats after Chronic Mild Unpredictable Stress. Physiol Behav. 2022 Sep 1;253:113867. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113867. PMID: 35661787 Free PMC article.
  7. Lamb LE, Timar R, Wills M, Dhar S, Lucas SM, Komnenov D, Chancellor MB, Dhar N. Long COVID and COVID-19-associated cystitis (CAC). Int Urol Nephrol. 2022 Jan;54(1):17-21. doi: 10.1007/s11255-021-03030-2. PMID: 34787782 Free PMC article.
  8. Levanovich PE, Chung CS, Komnenov D, Rossi NF. Fructose plus High-Salt Diet in Early Life Results in Salt-Sensitive Cardiovascular Changes in Mature Male Sprague Dawley Rats. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 8;13(9):3129. doi: 10.3390/nu13093129. PMID: 34579006 Free PMC article.
  9. Komnenov D, Quaal H, Rossi NF. V1a and V1b vasopressin receptors within the paraventricular nucleus contribute to hypertension in male rats exposed to chronic mild unpredictable stress. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2021 Mar 1;320(3):R213-R225. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00245.2020. PMID: 33264070
  10. Komnenov D, Levanovich PE, Perecki N, Chung CS, Rossi NF. Aortic Stiffness and Diastolic Dysfunction in Sprague Dawley Rats Consuming Short-Term Fructose Plus High Salt Diet. Integr Blood Press Control. 2020 Sep 28;13:111-124. doi: 10.2147/IBPC.S257205. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33061560 Free PMC article.
  11. Komnenov D, Levanovich PE, Rossi NF. Hypertension Associated with Fructose and High Salt: Renal and Sympathetic Mechanisms. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 7;11(3):569. doi: 10.3390/nu11030569. PMID: 30866441 Free PMC article.
  12. Mateika JH, Komnenov D, Pop A, Kuhn DM. Genetic depletion of 5-HT increases central apnea frequency and duration and dampens arousal but does not impact the circadian modulation of these variables. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2019 Jan 1;126(1):1-10. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00724.2018. Epub 2018 Oct 18.PMID: 30335578
  13. Soncrant T, Komnenov D, Beierwaltes WH, Chen H, Wu M, Rossi NF. Bilateral renal cryodenervation decreases arterial pressure and improves insulin sensitivity in fructose-fed Sprague-Dawley rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2018 Sep 1;315(3):R529-R538. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00020.2018. PMID: 29847164
  14. Lozo T, Komnenov D, Badr MS, Mateika JH. Sex differences in sleep disordered breathing in adults. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2017 Nov;245:65-75. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2016.11.001. PMID: 27836648 Review.
  15. Komnenov D, Solarewicz JZ, Afzal F, Nantwi KD, Kuhn DM, Mateika JH. Intermittent hypoxia promotes recovery of respiratory motor function in spinal cord-injured mice depleted of serotonin in the central nervous system. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2016 Aug 1;121(2):545-57. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00448.2016. PMID: 27402561
  16. Mateika JH, Komnenov D. Intermittent hypoxia initiated plasticity in humans: A multipronged therapeutic approach to treat sleep apnea and overlapping co-morbidities. Exp Neurol. 2017 Jan;287(Pt 2):113-129. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.05.011. PMID: 27170208 Review.


Post Graduate Training

 Department of Physiology, Wayne State University (mentor: Jason Mateika, Ph.D.)


2014 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Windsor
2009 B.S. University of Windsor

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