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  • Author or Editor: Antonio A. F. De Salles x
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Antonio A. F. De Salles, William P. Melega, Goran Laćan, Lisa J. Steele and Timothy D. Solberg

Object. Radiosurgery for functional neurosurgery performed using a linear accelerator (LINAC) has not been extensively characterized in preclinical studies. In the present study, the properties of a newly designed 3-mm-diameter collimator were evaluated in a dedicated LINAC, which produced lesions in the basal ganglia of vervet monkeys. Lesion formation was determined in vivo in three animals by examining magnetic resonance (MR) images to show the dosedelivery precision of targeting and the geometry and extent of the lesions. Postmortem immunohistochemical studies were conducted to determine the extent of lesion-induced radiobiological effects.

Methods. In three male vervet monkeys, the subthalamic nucleus (STN; one animal) and the pars compacta of the lateral substantia nigra (SN; two animals) were targeted by a Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery System that included a 3-mm collimator and delivered a maximum dose of 150 Gy. Magnetic resonance images obtained 4, 5, and 9 months posttreatment were reviewed, and the animals were killed so that immunohistological characterizations could be made.

Conclusions. The generation of precise radiosurgical lesions by a 3-mm collimator was validated in studies that targeted the basal ganglia of the vervet monkey. The extent of the lesions created in all animals remained restricted in diameter (< 3 mm) throughout the duration of the studies, as assessed by reviewing MR images. Histological studies showed that the lesions were contained within the STN and SN target areas and that there were persistent increases in glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity. Increases in immunoreactivity for tyrosine hydroxylase, the serotonin transporter, and the GluR1 subunit of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate glutamate receptor in penumbral regions of the lesion were suggestive of compensatory neuronal adaptations. This radiosurgical approach may be of particular interest for the induction of lesions of the STN and SN in studies of experimental parkinsonism, as well as for the development of potential radiosurgical treatments for Parkinson disease.

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Goran Laćan, Antonio A. F. De Salles, Alessandra A. Gorgulho, Scott E. Krahl, Leonardo Frighetto, Eric J. Behnke and William P. Melega


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become an effective therapy for an increasing number of brain disorders. Recently demonstrated DBS of the posterior hypothalamus as a safe treatment for chronic intractable cluster headaches has drawn attention to this target, which is involved in the regulation of diverse autonomic functions and feeding behavior through complex integrative mechanisms. In this study, the authors assessed the feasibility of ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) DBS in freely moving vervet monkeys to modulate food intake as a model for the potential treatment of eating disorders.


Deep brain stimulation electrodes were bilaterally implanted into the VMH of 2 adult male vervet monkeys by using the stereotactic techniques utilized in DBS in humans. Stimulators were implanted subcutaneously on the upper back, allowing ready access to program stimulation parameters while the animal remained conscious and freely moving. In anesthetized animals, intraoperatively and 6–10 weeks postsurgery, VMH DBS parameters were selected according to minimal cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system responses. Thereafter, conscious animals were subjected to 2 cycles of VMH DBS for periods of 8 and 3 days, and food intake and behavior were monitored. Animals were then killed for histological verification of probe placement.


During VMH DBS, total food consumption increased. The 3-month bilateral implant of electrodes and subsequent periods of high-frequency VMH stimulation did not result in significant adverse behavioral effects.


This is the first study in which techniques of hypothalamic DBS in humans have been applied in freely moving nonhuman primates. Future studies can now be conducted to determine whether VMH DBS can change hypothalamic responsivity to endocrine signals associated with adiposity for long-term modulation of food intake.