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Tony R. Wang, Shayan Moosa, Robert F. Dallapiazza, W. Jeffrey Elias and Wendy J. Lynch

Drug addiction represents a significant public health concern that has high rates of relapse despite optimal medical therapy and rehabilitation support. New therapies are needed, and deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be an effective treatment. The past 15 years have seen numerous animal DBS studies for addiction to various drugs of abuse, with most reporting decreases in drug-seeking behavior with stimulation. The most common target for stimulation has been the nucleus accumbens, a key structure in the mesolimbic reward pathway. In addiction, the mesolimbic reward pathway undergoes a series of neuroplastic changes. Chief among them is a relative hypofunctioning of the prefrontal cortex, which is thought to lead to the diminished impulse control that is characteristic of drug addiction. The prefrontal cortex, as well as other targets involved in drug addiction such as the lateral habenula, hypothalamus, insula, and subthalamic nucleus have also been stimulated in animals, with encouraging results. Although animal studies have largely shown promising results, current DBS studies for drug addiction primarily use stimulation during active drug use. More data are needed on the effect of DBS during withdrawal in preventing future relapse. The published human experience for DBS for drug addiction is currently limited to several promising case series or case reports that are not controlled. Further animal and human work is needed to determine what role DBS can play in the treatment of drug addiction.

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I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Zhiyuan Xu, John A. Jane Jr. and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECT

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is frequently employed to treat residual or recurrent nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas. There is no consensus as to whether GKRS should be used early after surgery or if radiosurgery should be withheld until there is evidence of radiographic progression of tumor.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas who underwent transsphenoidal surgery followed by GKRS between 1996 and 2013 at the University of Virginia Health System. Patients were stratified based on the interval between resection and radiosurgery. Operative results and imaging and clinical outcomes were compared across groups following early (≤ 6 months) or late (> 6 months) radiosurgery.

RESULTS

Sixty-four patients met the study criteria and were grouped based on early (n = 32) or late (n = 32) GKRS following transsphenoidal resection. There was a greater risk of tumor progression after GKRS in the late radiosurgical group (p = 0.027) over a median radiographic follow-up period of 68.5 months. Furthermore, there was a significantly higher occurrence of post-GKRS endocrinopathy in the late radiosurgical cohort (p = 0.041). Seventeen percent of patients without endocrinopathy in the early cohort developed new endocrinopathies during the follow-up period versus 64% in the late cohort (p = 0.036). This difference was primarily due to a significantly higher rate of tumor growth during the observation period of the late treatment cohort (p = 0.014). Of these patients with completely new endocrinopathies, radiation-associated pituitary insufficiency developed in 1 of 2 patients in the early group and in 3 of 7 (42.9%) patients in the late group.

CONCLUSIONS

Early treatment with GKRS appears to decrease the rate of radiographic and symptomatic progression of subtotally resected nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas compared with late GKRS treatment after a period of expectant management. Delaying radiosurgery may place the patient at increased risk for adenoma progression and endocrinopathy.

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Aaron E. Bond, Robert F. Dallapiazza, M. Beatriz Lopes and W. Jeffrey Elias

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic deep brain stimulation surgery is most commonly performed while patients are awake. This allows for intraoperative clinical assessment and electrophysiological target verification, thereby promoting favorable outcomes with few side effects. Intraoperative CT and MRI have challenged this concept of clinical treatment validation. Image-guided surgery is capable of delivering electrodes precisely to a planned, stereotactic target; however, these methods can be limited by low anatomical resolution even with sophisticated MRI modalities. The authors are developing a novel method using convection-enhanced delivery to safely manipulate the extracellular space surrounding common anatomical targets for surgery. By altering the extracellular content of deep subcortical structures and their associated white matter tracts, the MRI visualization of the basal ganglia can be improved to better define the anatomy. This technique could greatly improve the accuracy and success of stereotactic surgery, potentially eliminating the reliance on awake surgery.

METHODS

Observations were made in the clinical setting where vasogenic and cytotoxic edema improved the MRI visualization of the basal ganglia. These findings were replicated in the experimental setting using an FDA-approved intracerebral catheter that was stereotactically inserted into the thalamus or basal ganglia of 7 swine. Five swine were infused with normal saline, and 2 were infused with autologous CSF. Flow rates varied between 1 μl/min to 6 μl/min to achieve convective distributions. Concurrent MRI was performed at 15-minute intervals to monitor the volume of infusion and observe the imaging changes of the deep subcortical structures. The animals were then clinically observed, and necropsy was performed within 48 hours, 1 week, or 1 month for histological analysis.

RESULTS

In all animals, the white matter tracts became hyperintense on T2-weighted imaging as compared with basal ganglia nuclei, enabling better definition of the deep brain anatomy. The volume of distribution and infusion (Vd/Vi ratio) ranged from 2.5 to 4.5. There were no observed clinical effects from the infusions. Histological analysis demonstrated mild neuronal effects from saline infusions but no effects from CSF infusions.

CONCLUSIONS

This work provides the initial foundation for a novel approach to improve the visualization of deep brain anatomy during MRI-guided, stereotactic procedures. Convective infusions of CSF alter the extracellular fluid content of the brain for improved MRI without evidence of clinical or toxic effects.

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Darrin J. Lee, Christopher S. Lozano, Robert F. Dallapiazza and Andres M. Lozano

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has evolved considerably over the past 4 decades. Although it has primarily been used to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia, recently it has been approved to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and epilepsy. Novel potential indications in both neurological and psychiatric disorders are undergoing active study. There have been significant advances in DBS technology, including preoperative and intraoperative imaging, surgical approaches and techniques, and device improvements. In addition to providing significant clinical benefits and improving quality of life, DBS has also increased the understanding of human electrophysiology and network interactions. Despite the value of DBS, future developments should be aimed at developing less invasive techniques and attaining not just symptom improvement but curative disease modification.

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Mahmoud Messerer, Giulia Cossu, Roy Thomas Daniel and Emmanuel Jouanneau

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Robert F. Dallapiazza, Kelsie F. Timbie, Stephen Holmberg, Jeremy Gatesman, M. Beatriz Lopes, Richard J. Price, G. Wilson Miller and W. Jeffrey Elias

OBJECTIVE

Ultrasound can be precisely focused through the intact human skull to target deep regions of the brain for stereotactic ablations. Acoustic energy at much lower intensities is capable of both exciting and inhibiting neural tissues without causing tissue heating or damage. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the effects of low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) for neuromodulation and selective mapping in the thalamus of a large-brain animal.

METHODS

Ten Yorkshire swine (Sus scrofa domesticus) were used in this study. In the first neuromodulation experiment, the lemniscal sensory thalamus was stereotactically targeted with LIFU, and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) were monitored. In a second mapping experiment, the ventromedial and ventroposterolateral sensory thalamic nuclei were alternately targeted with LIFU, while both trigeminal and tibial evoked SSEPs were recorded. Temperature at the acoustic focus was assessed using MR thermography. At the end of the experiments, all tissues were assessed histologically for damage.

RESULTS

LIFU targeted to the ventroposterolateral thalamic nucleus suppressed SSEP amplitude to 71.6% ± 11.4% (mean ± SD) compared with baseline recordings. Second, we found a similar degree of inhibition with a high spatial resolution (∼ 2 mm) since adjacent thalamic nuclei could be selectively inhibited. The ventromedial thalamic nucleus could be inhibited without affecting the ventrolateral nucleus. During MR thermography imaging, there was no observed tissue heating during LIFU sonications and no histological evidence of tissue damage.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that LIFU can be safely used to modulate neuronal circuits in the central nervous system and that noninvasive brain mapping with focused ultrasound may be feasible in humans.

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Tony R. Wang, Aaron E. Bond, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Aaron Blanke, David Tilden, Thomas E. Huerta, Shayan Moosa, Francesco U. Prada and W. Jeffrey Elias

Although the use of focused ultrasound (FUS) in neurosurgery dates to the 1950s, its clinical utility was limited by the need for a craniotomy to create an acoustic window. Recent technological advances have enabled efficient transcranial delivery of US. Moreover, US is now coupled with MRI to ensure precise energy delivery and monitoring. Thus, MRI-guided transcranial FUS lesioning is now being investigated for myriad neurological and psychiatric disorders. Among the first transcranial FUS treatments is thalamotomy for the treatment of various tremors. The authors provide a technical overview of FUS thalamotomy for tremor as well as important lessons learned during their experience with this emerging technology.

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Colin J. Przybylowski, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Brian J. Williams, I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Zhiyuan Xu, Spencer C. Payne, Edward R. Laws and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to compare the outcomes of primary and revision transsphenoidal resection (TSR) of nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (NFPMAs) using endoscopic methods.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 287 consecutive patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal TSR for NFPMAs at their institution in the period from 2005 to 2011. Fifty patients who had undergone revision TSR were retrospectively matched for age, sex, and duration of follow-up to 46 patients who had undergone primary TSR. Medical and surgical complications were documented, and Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to assess rates of radiological progression-free survival (PFS).

RESULTS

The median follow-up periods were 45 and 46 months for the primary and revision TSR groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between the primary and revision groups in rates of new neurological deficit (0 in each), vascular injury (2% vs 0), postoperative CSF leak (6% vs 2%), transient diabetes insipidus (DI; 15% vs 12%), chronic DI (2% vs 2%), chronic sinusitis (4% vs 6%), meningitis (2% vs 2%), epistaxis (7% vs 0), or suprasellar hematoma formation (0 vs 2%). However, patients who underwent primary TSR had significantly higher rates of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH; 17% vs 4%, p = 0.04). Patients who underwent primary operations also had significantly higher rates of gross-total resection (GTR; 63% vs 28%, p < 0.01) and significantly lower rates of adjuvant radiotherapy (13% vs 42%, p < 0.01). Radiological PFS rates were similar at 2 years (98% vs 96%) and 5 years (87% vs 80%, p = 0.668, log-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent primary TSR of NFPMAs experienced higher rates of SIADH than those who underwent revision TSR. Patients who underwent revision TSR were less likely to have GTR of their tumor, although they still had a PFS rate similar to that in patients who underwent primary TSR. This finding may be attributable to an increased rate of adjuvant radiation treatment to subtotally resected tumors in the revision TSR group.

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Darrin J. Lee, Luka Milosevic, Robert Gramer, Sanskriti Sasikumar, Tameem M. Al-Ozzi, Philippe De Vloo, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Gavin J. B. Elias, Melanie Cohn, Suneil K. Kalia, William D. Hutchison, Alfonso Fasano and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECTIVE

Neuronal loss within the cholinergic nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM) correlates with cognitive decline in dementing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (PD). In nonhuman primates, the nbM firing pattern (5–40 Hz) has also been correlated with working memory and sustained attention. In this study, authors performed microelectrode recordings of the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) and the nbM immediately prior to the implantation of bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes in PD patients to treat motor symptoms and cognitive impairment, respectively. Here, the authors evaluate the electrophysiological properties of the nbM in patients with PD.

METHODS

Five patients (4 male, mean age 66 ± 4 years) with PD and mild cognitive impairment underwent bilateral GPi and nbM DBS lead implantation. Microelectrode recordings were performed through the GPi and nbM along a single trajectory. Firing rates and burst indices were characterized for each neuronal population with the patient at rest and performing a sustained-attention auditory oddball task. Action potential (AP) depolarization and repolarization widths were measured for each neuronal population at rest.

RESULTS

In PD patients off medication, the authors identified neuronal discharge rates that were specific to each area populated by GPi cells (92.6 ± 46.1 Hz), border cells (34 ± 21 Hz), and nbM cells (13 ± 10 Hz). During the oddball task, firing rates of nbM cells decreased (2.9 ± 0.9 to 2.0 ± 1.1 Hz, p < 0.05). During baseline recordings, the burst index for nbM cells (1.7 ± 0.6) was significantly greater than those for GPi cells (1.2 ± 0.2, p < 0.05) and border cells (1.1 ± 0.1, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the nbM burst index during the oddball task relative to baseline (3.4 ± 1.7, p = 0.20). With the patient at rest, the width of the depolarization phase of APs did not differ among the GPi cells, border cells, and nbM cells (p = 0.60); however, during the repolarization phase, the nbM spikes were significantly longer than those for GPi high-frequency discharge cells (p < 0.05) but not the border cells (p = 0.20).

CONCLUSIONS

Neurons along the trajectory through the GPi and nbM have distinct firing patterns. The profile of nbM activity is similar to that observed in nonhuman primates and is altered during a cognitive task associated with cholinergic activation. These findings will serve to identify these targets intraoperatively and form the basis for further research to characterize the role of the nbM in cognition.

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I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Hideyuki Kano, Zhiyuan Xu, Brandon Nguyen, Zaid A. Siddiqui, Danilo Silva, Mayur Sharma, Hesham Radwan, Jonathan A. Cohen, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Christian Iorio-Morin, Amparo Wolf, John A. Jane Jr., Inga S. Grills, David Mathieu, Douglas Kondziolka, Cheng-Chia Lee, Chih-Chun Wu, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Tomas Chytka, Gene H. Barnett, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is frequently used to treat residual or recurrent nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas. There is no consensus as to whether GKRS should be used early after surgery or if radiosurgery should be withheld until there is evidence of imaging-defined progression of tumor. Given the high incidence of adenoma progression after subtotal resection over time, the present study intended to evaluate the effect of timing of radiosurgery on outcome.

METHODS

This is a multicenter retrospective review of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas who underwent transsphenoidal surgery followed by GKRS from 1987 to 2015 at 9 institutions affiliated with the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients were matched by adenoma and radiosurgical parameters and stratified based on the interval between last resection and radiosurgery. Operative results, imaging data, and clinical outcomes were compared across groups following early (≤ 6 months after resection) or late (> 6 months after resection) radiosurgery.

RESULTS

After matching, 222 patients met the authors’ study criteria (from an initial collection of 496 patients) and were grouped based on early (n = 111) or late (n = 111) GKRS following transsphenoidal surgery. There was a greater risk of tumor progression after GKRS (p = 0.013) and residual tumor (p = 0.038) in the late radiosurgical group over a median imaging follow-up period of 68.5 months. No significant difference in the occurrence of post-GKRS endocrinopathy was observed (p = 0.68). Thirty percent of patients without endocrinopathy in the early cohort developed new endocrinopathies during the follow-up period versus 27% in the late cohort (p = 0.84). Fourteen percent of the patients in the early group and 25% of the patients in the late group experienced the resolution of endocrine dysfunction after original presentation (p = 0.32).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, early GKRS was associated with a lower risk of radiological progression of subtotally resected nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas compared with expectant management followed by late radiosurgery. Delaying radiosurgery may increase patient risk for long-term adenoma progression. The timing of radiosurgery does not appear to significantly affect the rate of delayed endocrinopathy.