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Gabriel C. Tender, Alexander O. Vortmeyer and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Intradural spinal arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), a subtype of spinal arteriovenous malformation in which there is a direct communication between a spinal artery and a vein on the cord surface or in the subarachnoid space, are generally considered to be congenital lesions caused by maldevelopment of the embryonic vascular system. The authors present the cases of two patients with acquired AVFs of the terminal filum. In each patient an AVF between the distal segment of the anterior spinal artery and its accompanying vein on the terminal filum developed within 1 year of repeated lumbar myelography that had demonstrated no evidence of abnormal vascularity. In both patients spinal arteriography demonstrated the absence of medullary venous drainage in the thoracolumbar region, which, combined with the arterialized venous input from the AVF, permitted the development of venous congestion and myelopathy. The involved segment of the terminal filum was excised; in vitro microarteriography and the histopathological examination demonstrated a single, simple arteriovenous connection in both patients.

The findings in these cases indicate that intradural AVF can spontaneously arise in later life. The development of these lesions and/or their clinical manifestation may require not only the presence of the AVF, but also deficiency of medullary spinal venous drainage. The epidemiology and anatomy of intradural AVFs are compatible with an acquired origin in many cases.

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Joshua M. Ammerman, Russell R. Lonser and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. To overcome the limitations associated with surgical approaches that have been described for accessing intraparenchymal lesions of the anteromedial region of the superior cerebellum, the authors used a posterior subtemporal transtentorial approach to remove tumors in this region. In this paper they describe the surgical technique that they used as well as the operative findings and clinical outcomes observed in patients who underwent resection of tumors in the anteromedial superior cerebellum.

Methods. The consecutive patients with anteromedial superior cerebellar tumors who underwent resection performed using the posterior subtemporal transtentorial approach at the National Institutes of Health were included in this study. Clinical, neuroimaging, and operative results were analyzed.

Three patients (two men and one woman) with anteromedial superior cerebellar tumors (two hemangioblastomas and one pilocytic astrocytoma) underwent resection via this approach. All the tumors were larger than 3 cm in diameter (range 3.1–3.5 cm). This approach provided excellent surgical access and permitted complete tumor resection in each case. The patients remained neurologically unchanged compared with preoperative baseline findings at the last follow-up examination (conducted at 4, 18, and 42 months postoperatively). One patient displayed a mild transient confusion immediately after surgery, but it resolved within 6 days.

Conclusions. The posterior subtemporal transtentorial approach provides excellent access to the anteromedial superior cerebellar region. This approach permits resection of large lesions in this location, while avoiding many of the limitations associated with other approaches to this site.

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Marsha J. Merrill and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is associated with several central nervous system (CNS) diseases and abnormalities, and is often postulated as a causative factor and promising therapeutic target in these settings. The authors' goal was to reassess the contribution of VEGF to the biology and pathology of the CNS.

The authors review the literature relating to the following aspects of VEGF: 1) the biology of VEGF in normal brain; 2) the involvement of VEGF in CNS disorders other than tumors (traumatic and ischemic injuries, arteriovenous malformations, inflammation); and 3) the role of VEGF in brain tumor biology (gliomas and the associated vasogenic edema, and hemangioblastomas).

The authors conclude the following: first, that VEGF overexpression contributes to the phenotype associated with many CNS disorders, but VEGF is a reactive rather than a causative factor in many cases; and second, that use of VEGF as a therapeutic agent or target is complicated by the effects of VEGF not only on the cerebral vasculature, but also on astrocytes, neurons, and inflammatory cells. In many cases, therapeutic interventions targeting the VEGF/VEGF receptor axis are likely to be ineffective or even detrimental. Clinical manipulation of VEGF levels in the CNS must be approached with caution.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Ryszard M. Pluta, Carla S. Jung, Judith Harvey-White, Anne Whitehead, Sabrina Shilad, Michael G. Espey and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of asymmetric dimethyl l-arginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), are associated with delayed vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH); however, the source, cellular mechanisms, and pharmacological inhibition of ADMA production following SAH are unknown.

Methods. In an in vitro experiment involving human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), the authors examined mechanisms potentially responsible for increased ADMA levels during vasospasm and investigated whether this increase can be inhibited pharmacologically. In a second study, an in vivo experiment, the authors used probucol, which effectively inhibited ADMA increase in HUVEC cultures in vitro, in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled experiment in a primate model of delayed cerebral vasospasm after SAH.

Oxidized low-density lipids (OxLDLs; positive control; p < 0.02) and bilirubin oxidation products (BOXes; p < 0.01), but not oxyhemoglobin (p = 0.74), increased ADMA levels in HUVECs. Probucol inhibited changes in ADMA levels evoked by either OxLDLs (p < 0.001) or BOXes (p < 0.01). Comparable changes were observed in cell lysates. In vivo probucol (100 mg/kg by mouth daily) did not alter serum ADMA levels on Days 7, 14, and 21 after SAH compared with levels before SAH, and these levels were not different from those observed in the placebo group (p = 0.3). Despite achieving therapeutic levels in plasma and measurable levels in CSF, probucol neither prevented increased CSF ADMA levels nor the development of vasospasm after SAH. Increased CSF ADMA and decreased nitrite levels in both groups were strongly associated with the degree of delayed vasospasm after SAH (correlation coefficient [CC] 0.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.19–0.72, p < 0.002 and CC −0.43, 95% CI −0.7 to < 0.05, p < 0.03, respectively).

Conclusions. Bilirubin oxidation products, but not oxyhemoglobin, increased ADMA levels in the HUVEC. Despite its in vitro ability to lower ADMA levels, probucol failed to inhibit increased CSF ADMA and decreased nitrite levels, and it did not prevent delayed vasospasm in a primate SAH model.

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Timothy W. A. Vogel, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Irina A. Lubensky, Youn-Soo Lee, Makoto Furuta, Barbara Ikejiri, H. Jeffrey Kim, Russell R. Lonser, Edward H. Oldfield and Zhengping Zhuang

Object. Von Hippel—Lindau (VHL) disease is characterized by multiple tumors in specific organs. The cell of origin and the reason for the particular organ distribution of the tumors remains unknown. Endolymphatic sac tumor (ELST) is one of the lesions associated with VHL disease. Data from previous studies of VHL disease—associated hemangioblastomas (HBs) and renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) have indicated that VHL gene deficiency causes coexpression of erythropoietin (Epo) and its receptor (Epo-R), which facilitates tumor growth.

Methods. The authors studied ELSTs from five patients with VHL germline mutations. Analysis of the five ELST samples revealed loss of the wild-type allele, consistent with Knudson's two-hit hypothesis for tumorigenesis. All five ELST specimens were characterized microscopically and by immunohistochemical analysis. Coexpression of Epo and Epo-R was found in all five tumors on immunohistochemical studies and confirmed through reverse transcription—polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis.

Conclusions. Expression of Epo appears to be a result of VHL gene deficiency, whereas the simultaneous coexpression of Epo-R may reflect a developmental mechanism of tumorigenesis. Coexpression of Epo and Epo-R in ELSTs together with the morphological and genetic similarities of these lesions with other VHL disease—associated tumors indicates that VHL disease—associated tumors in different organs share common pathogenetic pathways.

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Michael Y. Chen, Alan Hoffer, Paul F. Morrison, John F. Hamilton, Jeffrey Hughes, Kurt S. Schlageter, Jeongwu Lee, Brandon R. Kelly and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Achieving distribution of gene-carrying vectors is a major barrier to the clinical application of gene therapy. Because of the blood—brain barrier, the distribution of genetic vectors to the central nervous system (CNS) is even more challenging than delivery to other tissues. Direct intraparenchymal microinfusion, a minimally invasive technique, uses bulk flow (convection) to distribute suspensions of macromolecules widely through the extracellular space (convection-enhanced delivery [CED]). Although acute injection into solid tissue is often used for delivery of oligonucleotides, viruses, and liposomes, and there is preliminary evidence that certain of these large particles can spread through the interstitial space of the brain by the use of convection, the use of CED for distribution of viruses in the brain has not been systematically examined. That is the goal of this study.

Methods. Investigators used a rodent model to examine the influence of size, osmolarity of buffering solutions, and surface coating on the volumetric distribution of virus-sized nanoparticles and viruses (adeno-associated viruses and adenoviruses) in the gray matter of the brain. The results demonstrate that channels in the extracellular space of gray matter in the brain are large enough to accommodate virus-sized particles and that the surface characteristics are critical determinants for distribution of viruses in the brain by convection.

Conclusions. These results indicate that convective distribution can be used to distribute therapeutic viral vectors in the CNS.

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H. Jeffrey Kim, John A. Butman, Brewer Carmen, Christopher Zalewski, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Gladys Glenn, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs), which often are associated with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease, cause irreversible hearing loss and vestibulopathy. Clinical and imaging surveillance protocols provide new insights into the natural history, mechanisms of symptom formation, and indications for the treatment of ELSTs. To clarify the uncertainties associated with the pathophysiology and treatment of ELSTs, the authors describe a series of patients with VHL disease in whom serial examinations recorded the development of ELSTs.

Methods

Patients with VHL disease were included if serial clinical and imaging studies captured the development of ELSTs, and the patients underwent tumor resection. The patients' clinical, audiological, and imaging characteristics as well as their operative results were analyzed.

Five consecutive patients (three men and two women) with a mean age at surgery of 34.8 years and a follow-up period of 6 to 18 months were included in this study. Audiovestibular symptoms were present in three patients before a tumor was evident on neuroimaging. Imaging evidence of an intralabyrinthine hemorrhage coincided with a loss of hearing in three patients. Successful resection of the ELSTs was accomplished by performing a retrolabyrinthine posterior petrosectomy (RLPP). Hearing stabilized and vestibular symptoms resolved after surgery in all patients. No patient has experienced a recurrence.

Conclusions

Audiovestibular symptoms, including hearing loss, in patients with VHL disease can be the result of microscopic ELSTs. Once an ELST has been detected, it can be completely resected via an RLPP with preservation of hearing and amelioration of vestibular symptoms. Early detection and surgical treatment of small ELSTs, when hearing is still present, should reduce the incidence and severity of hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and cranial nerve dysfunction, which are associated with these tumors.

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Gabriel C. Tender, Stuart Walbridge, Zoltan Olah, Laszlo Karai, Michael Iadarola, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Neuropathic pain is mediated by nociceptive neurons that selectively express the vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1). Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is an excitotoxic VR1 agonist that causes destruction of VR1-positive neurons. To determine whether RTX can be used to ablate VR1-positive neurons selectively and to eliminate hyperalgesia and neurogenic inflammation without affecting tactile sensation and motor function, the authors infused it unilaterally into the trigeminal ganglia in Rhesus monkeys.

Methods

Either RTX (three animals) or vehicle (one animal) was directly infused (20 μl) into the right trigeminal ganglion in Rhesus monkeys. Animals were tested postoperatively at 1, 4, and 7 weeks thereafter for touch and pain perception in the trigeminal distribution (application of saline and capsaicin to the cornea). The number of eye blinks, eye wipes, and duration of squinting were recorded. Neurogenic inflammation was tested using capsaicin cream. Animals were killed 4 (one monkey) and 12 (three monkeys) weeks postinfusion. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.

Throughout the duration of the study, response to high-intensity pain stimulation (capsaicin) was selectively and significantly reduced (p < 0.001, RTX-treated compared with vehicle-treated eye [mean ± standard deviation]): blinks, 25.7 ± 4.4 compared with 106.6 ± 20.8; eye wipes, 1.4 ± 0.8 compared with 19.3 ± 2.5; and squinting, 1.4 ± 0.6 seconds compared with 11.4 ± 1.6 seconds. Normal response to sensation was maintained. Animals showed no neurological deficit or sign of toxicity. Neurogenic inflammation was blocked on the RTX-treated side. Immunohistochemical analysis of the RTX-treated ganglia showed selective elimination of VR1-positive neurons.

Conclusions

Nociceptive neurons can be selectively ablated by intraganglionic RTX infusion, resulting in the elimination of high-intensity pain perception and neurogenic inflammation while maintaining normal sensation and motor function. Analysis of these findings indicated that intraganglionic RTX infusion may provide a new treatment for pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia as well as others.

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Gabriel C. Tender, Stuart Walbridge, Zoltan Olah, Laszlo Karai, Michael Iadarola, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Neuropathic pain is mediated by nociceptive neurons that selectively express the vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1). Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is an excitotoxic VR1 agonist that causes destruction of VR1-positive neurons. To determine whether RTX can be used to ablate VR1-positive neurons selectively and to eliminate hyperalgesia and neurogenic inflammation without affecting tactile sensation and motor function, the authors infused it unilaterally into the trigeminal ganglia in Rhesus monkeys.

Methods. Either RTX (three animals) or vehicle (one animal) was directly infused (20 µl) into the right trigeminal ganglion in Rhesus monkeys. Animals were tested postoperatively at 1, 4, and 7 weeks thereafter for touch and pain perception in the trigeminal distribution (application of saline and capsaicin to the cornea). The number of eye blinks, eye wipes, and duration of squinting were recorded. Neurogenic inflammation was tested using capsaicin cream. Animals were killed 4 (one monkey) and 12 (three monkeys) weeks postinfusion. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.

Throughout the duration of the study, response to high-intensity pain stimulation (capsaicin) was selectively and significantly reduced (p < 0.001, RTX-treated compared with vehicle-treated eye [mean ± standard deviation]): blinks, 25.7 ± 4.4 compared with 106.6 ± 20.8; eye wipes, 1.4 ± 0.8 compared with 19.3 ± 2.5; and squinting, 1.4 ± 0.6 seconds compared with 11.4 ± 1.6 seconds. Normal response to sensation was maintained. Animals showed no neurological deficit or sign of toxicity. Neurogenic inflammation was blocked on the RTX-treated side. Immunohistochemical analysis of the RTX-treated ganglia showed selective elimination of VR1-positive neurons.

Conclusions. Nociceptive neurons can be selectively ablated by intraganglionic RTX infusion, resulting in the elimination of high-intensity pain perception and neurogenic inflammation while maintaining normal sensation and motor function. Analysis of these findings indicated that intraganglionic RTX infusion may provide a new treatment for pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia as well as others.