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Jason Sheehan and Nader Pouratian

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Jason Sheehan, Adina Ionescu, Nader Pouratian, D. Kojo Hamilton, David Schlesinger, Rod J. Oskouian Jr., and Charles Sansur


Adjuvant treatment with radiation (radiation therapy or radiosurgery) is a mainstay of treatment for patients harboring glioblastomas multiforme (GBM). Hypoxic regions within the tumor make cells less sensitive to radiation therapy. Trans sodium crocetinate (TSC) has been shown to increase oxygen diffusion in the brain and elevate the partial brain oxygen level. The goal of this study was to evaluate the radiosensitizing effects of TSC on GBM tumors.


A rat C6 glioma model was used, in which C6 glioma cells were stereotactically injected into the rat brain to create a tumor. Following creation of a right frontal tumor, animals were randomized into 1 of 4 groups: 1) TSC alone (animal treated with moderate-dose TSC only); 2) radiation (animals receiving 8 Gy of cranial radiation); 3) radiation and low-dose TSC (animals receiving 8 Gy of radiation and 50 μg/kg of TSC); or 4) radiation and moderate-dose TSC (animals receiving 8 Gy of radiation and 100 μg/kg of TSC). Animals were observed clinically for 60 days or until death. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed at 2-week intervals on each animal and quantitatively evaluated for tumor response. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on all brain tumors. Survival differences were also evaluated using the Kaplan–Meier method.


On MR imaging, a statistically significant reduction in tumor size was seen in the group receiving moderate-dose TSC and radiation treatment compared with the group receiving radiation treatment alone. The rate of tumor growth was significantly less for the combination of TSC and radiation treatment compared with either modality alone. Median survival times for the TSC-only and the radiation therapy–only groups were 15 and 30 days, respectively. The 60-day median survival times for the groups receiving a combination of either low- or moderate-dose TSC with radiation therapy were statistically improved compared with those for the other treatment groups.


Use of TSC improves the extent of GBM tumor regression following radiation therapy and enhances survival. Radiosensitization of hypoxic tumors through increased oxygen diffusion may have clinical utility in patients with GBM tumors but must be explored in a clinical trial.

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Jason Sheehan, Anne Eischeid, Randi Saunders, and Nader Pouratian


Immunosuppressive agents are believed to play a role in recovery from spinal cord injury, but the underlying mechanisms by which neuronal function is improved by these agents are poorly understood. In this study, the authors evaluate the effect of immunosuppressive medications on neurite outgrowth and cell survival after a pharmacologically induced injury.


Differentiated human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were injured using the calcium agonist thapsigargin. After cellular injury, neurite outgrowth in the presence or absence of immunosuppressive agents was measured. Apoptosis was quantified with the aid of a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling assay.

Neurite outgrowth was severely restricted following thapsigargin injury. Outgrowth was potentiated, however, by the addition of concentrations of 1 and 10 μM cyclosporin A in a dose-dependent fashion. Similarly, addition of 10 nM FK506 increased the percentage of neurites in the 20- to 40-micron range. A low dose (1 μM) of dexamethasone did not have a significant effect on neurite outgrowth, but a higher dose (10 μM) increased the percentage of neurites in the 10- to 45-micron range. These agents also lessened the degree of thapsigargin-induced apoptosis.


Immunosuppressive agents such as cyclosporin A, FK506, and dexamethasone can potentiate neurite outgrowth and protect against apoptotic cell death in a human postmitotic neuronal cell line. Such effects may have implications for lessening neuronal injury after neurotrauma, stroke, or neurodegeneration.