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Eddie Perkins, Hitoshi Kimura, Andrew D. Parent and John H. Zhang

Object. Whether cerebral vasospasm occurs only in surface vessels or also in parenchymal arterioles is debatable. The present study was undertaken to evaluate comprehensively the microvasculature of the brainstem after experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

Methods. Nine mongrel dogs of either sex, each weighing between 18 and 24 kg, underwent double blood injections spaced 48 hours apart; the injections were infused into the cisterna magna immediately after angiography of the basilar arteries (BAs). Three additional dogs assigned to a control group received no blood injections. The dogs were killed on Day 7. Axial sections obtained from the midpontine region of both control dogs and animals subjected to SAH were evaluated with respect to the morphological characteristics of vessels and neurons, and for ultrastructural changes.

Severe vasospasm occurred in the BAs of all dogs subjected to SAH. Nevertheless, in these animals, the luminal areas and vessel perimeter in parenchymal arterioles, but not in parenchymal venules, were observed to have increased when compared with those of control dogs (p < 0.01, t-test). No corrugation of the internal elastic lamina was observed and smooth-muscle and endothelial cells remained normal at the ultrastructural level in the dogs with SAH.

Conclusions. In this model, vasospasm of the BAs did not extend into the region of the pons to affect the intraparenchymal arterioles. Dilation of the parenchymal arterioles might serve as compensation for reduced blood flow. Thus, no neuronal ischemia or infarction resulted in the pontine region of the brain.

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Toshinari Meguro, Christoph P. R. Klett, Betty Chen, Andrew D. Parent and John H. Zhang

Object. Oxyhemoglobin (OxyHb) released from hemolysed erythrocytes has been considered to be responsible for cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage. The authors previously reported that OxyHb produced apoptosis in cultured vascular endothelial cells. The change in intracellular Ca++ homeostasis was expected to be one of the possible mechanisms of the cytotoxic effects of OxyHb. This study was undertaken to investigate the protective effects of Ca++-channel blockers on OxyHb-induced apoptosis.

Methods. Cultured bovine coronary artery and brain microvascular endothelial cells (passages 5–9) were used. A cell density study, immunohistochemical staining, and DNA fragmentation analysis were performed to confirm apoptosis. Various concentrations (1–50 µM) of OxyHb were used for 24- to 72-hour incubations with and without Ca++-channel blockers.

Oxyhemoglobin produced cytotoxicity leading to cell detachment from the culture dish in time- and concentration-dependent manners. The highest dose (50 µM) of OxyHb produced cell detachment after a 24-hour incubation, and the lower doses (1–10 µM) produced cell detachment after 48 to 72 hours. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that apoptosis occurred in cells that were still attached to the side of the culture dish after 48 to 72 hours of OxyHb treatment (5 µM). The OxyHb (10 µM) produced DNA ladders at 48 to 72 hours. Three Ca++-channel blockers were used to prevent the toxic effect of OxyHb. The voltage-dependent Ca++-channel blocker nicardipine (1 µM), the voltage-independent Ca++-channel blocker econazole (10 µM), and the inorganic Ca++-channel blocker lanthanum (100 µM) all failed to prevent cell detachment or DNA ladders produced by OxyHb. These results were similar in both cell lines.

Conclusions. Oxyhemoglobin produced apoptotic changes in cultured vascular endothelial cells, and Ca++-channel blockers did not prevent OxyHb-induced apoptosis.

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Yasushi Miyagi, Robin C. Carpenter, Toshinari Meguro, Andrew D. Parent and John H. Zhang

Object. Rho A, a small guanosine triphosphate—binding protein, and rho kinases have been suggested to play an important role in the agonist-induced myofilament Ca++ sensitization and cytoskeletal organization of smooth-muscle cells. To discover their possible roles in the prolonged contraction seen in cerebral vasospasm, the authors investigated the messenger (m)RNA expressions of rho A and rho-associated kinases α and β in the basilar artery (BA) of a rat double cisternal blood—injection model.

Methods. An experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) was achieved in rats by twice injecting autologous arterial blood into the cisterna magna of each animal. The mRNAs for rho A and rho-associated kinases α and β of the rat BA were analyzed using reverse transcription—polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The cisternal blood injection induced a marked corrugation of elastic lamina and contraction of smooth-muscle cells observed with the aid of light and transmission electron microscopy in the rat BA on Days 3, 5, and 7. Results of the RT-PCR revealed that mRNAs for rho A and rho kinases α and β were expressed in the rat BA and that they were significantly upregulated and reached their peaks on Day 5.

Conclusions. The mRNA upregulation of these proteins indicates that activation of rho A/rho kinase—related signal transduction pathways is involved in the development of long-lasting contraction of cerebral arteries after SAH.

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Xiaoran Zhang, William J. Ares, Philipp Taussky, Andrew F. Ducruet and Ramesh Grandhi

Intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are a result of complex interactions between biochemical and mechanical forces and can lead to significant morbidity if they rupture and cause subarachnoid hemorrhage. This review explores the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the pathogenesis and progression of IAs. In addition to providing a review of the normal function of MMPs, it is intended to explore the interaction between inflammation and abnormal blood flow and the resultant pathological vascular remodeling processes seen in the development and rupture of IAs. Also reviewed is the potential for the use of MMPs as a diagnostic tool for assessment of aneurysm development and progression.

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Andrew K. Chan, Arnau Benet, Junichi Ohya, Xin Zhang, Todd D. Vogel, Daniel W. Flis, Ivan H. El-Sayed and Praveen V. Mummaneni


The microscopic transoral, endoscopic transnasal, and endoscopic transoral approaches are used alone and in combination for a variety of craniovertebral junction (CVJ) pathologies. The endoscopic transoral approach provides a more direct exposure that is not restricted by the nasal cavity, pterygoid plates, and palate while sparing the potential morbidities associated with extensive soft-tissue dissection, palatal splitting, or mandibulotomy. Concerns regarding the extent of visualization afforded by the endoscopic transoral approach may be limiting its widespread adoption.


A dissection of 10 cadaver heads was undertaken. CT-based imaging guidance was used to measure the working corridor of the endoscopic transoral approach. Measurements were made relative to the palatal line. The built-in linear measurement tool was used to measure the superior and inferior extents of view. The superolateral extent was measured relative to the midline, as defined by the nasal process of the maxilla. The height of the clivus, odontoid tip, and superior aspect of the C-1 arch were also measured relative to the palatal line. A correlated clinical case is presented with video.


The CVJ was accessible in all cases. The superior extent of the approach was a mean 19.08 mm above the palatal line (range 11.1–27.7 mm). The superolateral extent relative to the midline was 15.45 mm on the right side (range 9.6–23.7 mm) and 16.70 mm on the left side (range 8.1–26.7 mm). The inferior extent was a mean 34.58 mm below the palatal line (range 22.2–41.6 mm). The mean distances were as follows: palatal line relative to the odontoid tip, 0.97 mm (range −4.9 to 3.7 mm); palatal line relative to the height of the clivus, 4.88 mm (range −1.5 to 7.3 mm); and palatal line relative to the C-1 arch, −2.75 mm (range −5.8 to 0 mm).


The endoscopic transoral approach can reliably access the CVJ. This approach avoids the dissections and morbidities associated with a palate-splitting technique (velopharyngeal insufficiency) and the expanded endonasal approach (mucus crusting, sinusitis, and potential lacerum or cavernous-paraclival internal carotid artery injury). For appropriately selected lesions near the palatal line, the endoscopic transoral approach appears to be the preferred approach.

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Kotaro Ogihara, Alexander Y. Zubkov, David H. Bernanke, Adam I. Lewis, Andrew D. Parent and John H. Zhang

Object. Oxyhemoglobin (OxyHb) is one of the most important spasmogens for cerebral vasospasm that follows aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The cytotoxic effect of OxyHb has been documented in endothelial and smooth-muscle cells; however, the pattern of cell death—necrosis or apoptosis—as the final stage of cell damage has not been demonstrated. This study was undertaken to determine if OxyHb induces apoptotic changes in cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells.

Methods. Confluent bovine aortic endothelial cells were treated with OxyHb in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Cell density was assayed by counting the number of cells that attached to culture dishes after exposure to OxyHb. To identify apoptotic changes, the investigators used three specific methods: DNA fragmentation (electrophoreses), the apoptotic body (transmission electron microscopy), and cleavage of poly (adenosine diphosphate ribose) polymerase (PARP [Western blotting]).

Conclusions. Oxyhemoglobin decreased cell density in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Analysis of DNA showed a pattern of internucleosomal cleavage characteristic of apoptosis (DNA ladder). Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated condensation of nuclei and apoptotic bodies in OxyHb-treated endothelial cells. Western blotting with the PARP antibody revealed that the 116-kD PARP was cleaved to the 85-kD apoptosis-related fragment. These results for the first time demonstrated that the OxyHb induces apoptosis in cultured endothelial cells.

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Robert Tibbs, Alexander Zubkov, Kazuya Aoki, Toshinari Meguro, Ahmed Badr, Andrew Parent and John Zhang

Object. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) may be involved in the pathogenesis of cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage. This study was conducted to investigate the ability of the MAPK inhibitors PD98059 and U-0126 to reverse vasospasm in a double-hemorrhage model in dogs.

Methods. Twenty-two adult mongrel dogs of either sex, each weighing 18 to 24 kg, were divided randomly into four groups: control SAH (four dogs), vehicle- (dimethyl sulfoxide, six dogs), PD-98059— (six dogs), and U-0126—treated groups (six dogs). The double-hemorrhage model was created by an autologous blood injection into the cisterna magna on Days 0 and 2. An intracisternal injection of MAPK inhibitors was administered once per day on Days 3 through 6. Cerebral angiography was performed on Days 0 and 7 before the animals were killed. Western blot analysis was used to study the effects of hemorrhage and drug treatment on the MAPK immunoprecipitation.

Severe vasospasm developed in the dogs in the control and vehicle-treated groups (basilar artery [BA] diameter reduction 46.6 ± 5.5% and 49.3 ± 4.6%, respectively). In the PD-98059—treated group, most of the dogs developed mild vasospasm (18.9 ± 6.2%). In the U-0126—treated group, severe vasospasm was observed despite treatment (39.6 ± 6.4%). The PD-98059 but not the U-0126 abolished MAPK immunoprecipitation in the spastic BAs. However, treatment with either PD-98059 or U-0126 improved the clinical scores of the dogs.

Conclusions. The present study is the first in which the effects of MAPK inhibitors on vasospasm have been investigated in vivo. The authors demonstrate that MAPK may play a role in vasospasm and that PD-98059 is a potential candidate for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm.

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Marcus Stoodley, R. Loch Macdonald, Bryce Weir, Linda S. Marton, Lydia Johns, Zhen Du Zhang and Andrew Kowalczuk

Object. It is not known whether the factors responsible for vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) cause the cerebral arteries to be narrowed independent of the subarachnoid blood clot or whether the continued presence of clot is required for the entire time of vasospasm. The authors undertook the present study to investigate this issue.

Methods. To distinguish between these possibilities, bilateral SAH was induced in monkeys. The diameters of the monkeys' cerebral arteries were measured on angiograms obtained on Days 0 (the day of SAH), 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The subarachnoid blood clot was removed surgically on Day 1, 3, or 5 or, in control animals, was not removed until the animals were killed on Day 7 or 9. The concentrations of hemoglobins and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), substances believed to cause vasospasm, were measured in the removed clots and the contractile activity of the clots was measured in monkey basilar arteries in vitro. If the clot was removed 1 or 3 days after placement, vasospasm was significantly diminished 4 days after clot removal. Clot removal on Day 5 had no marked effect on vasospasm. There was a significant decrease over time in hemoglobin and ATP concentrations and in the contractile activity of the clots, although substantial hemoglobin and contractile activity was still present on Day 7.

Conclusions. The authors infer from these results that vasospasm requires the presence of subarachnoid blood for at least 3 days, whereas by Day 5 vasospasm is less dependent on subarachnoid blood clot. Because the clot still contains substantial amounts of hemoglobin and contractile activity after 5 days, there may be an adaptive response in the cerebral arteries that allows them to relax in the presence of the stimulus that earlier caused contraction.

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Alexander Y. Zubkov, Kotaro Ogihara, Phani Tumu, Anita Patlolla, Adam I. Lewis, Andrew D. Parent and John Zhang

Object. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is an important signaling factor in vascular proliferation and contraction, which are the two features of cerebral vasospasm that follow subarachnoid hemorrhage. The authors studied the possible involvement of MAPK in hemolysate-induced signal transduction and contraction in rabbit basilar artery (BA).

Methods. Isometric tension was used to record the contractile response of rabbit BA to hemolysate, and Western blots were obtained using antibodies for MAPK.

The following results are reported. 1) Hemolysate produced a concentration-dependent contraction of rabbit BA; however, preincubation of arteries with the MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitor PD-98059 markedly reduced this contraction. The administration of PD-98059 also relaxed, in a concentration-dependent fashion, the sustained contraction induced by 10% hemolysate. 2) The Janus tyrosine kinase 2 inhibitor AG-490, preincubated with arterial rings, reduced the contractile response to hemolysate but failed to relax the sustained contraction induced by this agent. The Src-tyrosine kinase inhibitor damnacanthal and the phosphatidylinositol 3—kinase inhibitor wortmannin failed to reduce hemolysate-induced contraction. 3) Hemolysate produced a time-dependent elevation of MAPK immunoreactivity as seen on Western blots of rabbit BA. The MAPK was enhanced 1 minute after hemolysate exposure and the effect reached maximum levels at 5 minutes. The immunoreactivity of MAPK decayed slowly over time, but the level of this kinase was still higher than the basal level, even at 2 hours after exposure to hemolysate. Preincubation of arteries with the MEK inhibitor PD-98059 abolished the effect of hemolysate on MAPK immunoreactivity.

Conclusions. Hemolysate produced contraction of rabbit BA, possibly by activation of MAPK, and therefore MAPK inhibitors may be useful in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm.

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Steven L. Gogela, Yair M. Gozal, Bin Zhang, Thomas A. Tomsick, Andrew J. Ringer, Joseph P. Broderick, Pooja Khatri and Todd A. Abruzzo


The impact of extracranial carotid stenosis on interventional revascularization of acute anterior circulation stroke is unknown. The authors examined the effects of high-grade carotid stenosis on the results of endovascular treatment of patients in the Interventional Management of Stroke (IMS)-III trial.


The 278 patients in the endovascular arm of the IMS-III trial were categorized according to the degree of carotid stenosis as determined by angiography. In comparing patients with severe stenosis or occlusion (≥ 70%) to those without severe stenosis (< 70%), the authors evaluated the time to endovascular reperfusion, modified Thrombolysis in Cerebrovascular Infarction (mTICI) scores, 24-hour mean infarct volumes, symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage rates, and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at 90 days.


Compared with the 249 patients with less than 70% stenosis, patients with severe stenosis (n = 29) were found to have a significantly longer mean time to reperfusion (105.7 vs 77.7 minutes, p = 0.004); differences in mTICI scores, infarct volumes, hemorrhage rates, and mRS scores at 90 days did not reach statistical significance. Multiple regression analysis revealed that severe carotid stenosis (p < 0.0001) and higher baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores (p = 0.004) were associated with an increase in time to reperfusion. Older age (p < 0.0001), higher NIHSS score (p < 0.0001), and the absence of reperfusion (p = 0.001) were associated with worse clinical outcomes.


Severe ipsilateral ICA stenosis was associated with a significantly longer time to reperfusion in the IMS-III trial. Although these findings may not translate directly to modern devices, this 28-minute delay in reperfusion has significant implications, raising concern over the treatment of tandem ICA stenosis and downstream large-vessel occlusion.