Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to investigate new treatments for central nervous system disorders. Although the properties of CED are well established in normal gray and white matter central nervous system structures, the effects on drug distribution imposed by ependymal and pial surfaces are not precisely defined. To determine the effect of these anatomical boundaries on CED, the authors infused low MW and high MW tracers for MR imaging near ependymal (periventricular) and pial (pericisternal) surfaces.
Five primates underwent CED of Gd-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA; MW 590 D) or Gd-bound albumin (Gd-albumin; MW 72,000 D) during serial real-time MR imaging (FLAIR and T1-weighted sequences). Periventricular (caudate) infusions were performed unilaterally in 1 animal (volume of infusion [Vi] 57 μl) and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 40 μl on each side), and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-albumin (Vi = 80 μl on each side). Pericisternal infusions were performed in 2 animals with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 190 μl) or with Gd-albumin (Vi = 185 μl) (1 animal each). Clinical effects, MR imaging, and histology were analyzed.
Large regions of the brain and brainstem were perfused with both tracers. Intraparenchymal distribution was successfully tracked in real time by using T1-weighted MR imaging. During infusion, the volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (R2 = 0.98) with periventricular (mean Vd/Vi ratio ± standard deviation; 4.5 ± 0.5) and pericisternal (5.2 ± 0.3) Vi, but did so only until the leading edge of distribution reached the ependymal or pial surfaces, respectively. After the infusate reached either surface, the Vd/Vi decreased significantly (ependyma 2.9 ± 0.8, pia mater 3.6 ± 1.0; p < 0.05) and infusate entry into the ventricular or cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was identified on FLAIR but not on T1-weighted MR images.
Ependymal and pial boundaries are permeable to small and large molecules delivered interstitially by convection. Once infusate reaches these surfaces, a portion enters the adjacent ventricular or cisternal CSF and the tissue Vd/Vi ratio decreases. Although T1-weighted MR imaging is best for tracking intraparenchymal infusate distribution, FLAIR MR imaging is the most sensitive and accurate for detecting entry of Gd-labeled imaging compounds into CSF during CED.