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P. David Adelson, Paul Robichaud, Ronald L. Hamilton and Patrick M. Kochanek

✓ Diffuse cerebral swelling after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) develops more commonly in children than adults; however, models of diffuse brain injury in immature animals are lacking. The authors developed a new model of diffuse severe TBI in immature rats by modifying a recently described closed head injury model for adult rats. A total of 105 Sprague—Dawley immature rats (17 days old; average weight 38.5 ± 5.46 g) were subjected to head impact using variable weights (0 g (sham), 75 g, 100 g, or 125 g) delivered from a height of 2 m onto a metal disk cemented to the intact cranium. Mortality, physiological and neurological parameters (from early reflex recovery to escape), and early histopathological changes were assessed. During the acute period after severe injury (SI) (100 g delivered from a height of 2 m; 50 rats), apnea was frequently observed and the mortality rate was 38%. Neurological recovery was complete in the sham-injured animals (11 rats) by 4.1 ± 0.23 minutes (mean ± standard error of the mean), but was delayed in both moderately injured (MI) (75 g/2 m; 11 rats) (14.97 ± 3.99 minutes) and SI (20.57 ± 1.31 minutes (p < 0.05)) rats. In the first 24 hours, the sham-injured animals were more active than the injured ones as reflected by a greater net weight gain: 2.9 ± 1.0 g, 1.2 ± 1.6 g, and −0.6 ± 2.1 g in sham-injured, MI, and SI animals, respectively. Immediately after injury, transient hypertension (lasting < 15 seconds) was followed by hypotension (lasting < 3 minutes) and loss of temperature regulation. Both injuries also induced apnea (0.75 ± 0.7 minutes and 1.27 ± 0.53 minutes in MI and SI groups, respectively), which either resolved or deteriorated to death. Intubation and assisted ventilation in animals with SI for 9.57 ± 3.27 minutes in the peritrauma period eliminated mortality (p < 0.05, intubated vs. nonintubated). Histologically, after SI, there was diffuse edema throughout the corpus callosum below the region of injury and in the thalami. Other injuries included neuronal death in the deep nuclei, bilateral disruption of CA3, diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage, and, in some, ventriculomegaly. Following a diffuse TBI in immature rats, SI produced a mortality rate, neurological deficit, and histological changes similar to those previously reported for an injury resulting from a 450-g weight dropped from 2 m in adult rats. A graded insult was achieved by maintaining the height of the weight drop but varying the weights. Weight loss, acute physiological instability, and acute neurological deficits were also indicative of an SI. Mortality was eliminated when ventilatory support was used during the peritrauma period. This model should be useful in studying the response of the immature rat to diffuse severe TBI.

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Bennet Omalu, Jennifer L. Hammers, Julian Bailes, Ronald L. Hamilton, M. Ilyas Kamboh, Garrett Webster and Robert P. Fitzsimmons

Following his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football players in 2002, Dr. Bennet Omalu hypothesized that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans may belong to the CTE spectrum of diseases. The CTE surveillance at the Brain Injury Research Institute was therefore expanded to include deceased military veterans diagnosed with PTSD. The authors report the case of a 27-year-old United States Marine Corps (USMC) Iraqi war veteran, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman, who committed suicide by hanging after two deployments to Fallujah and Ramadi. He experienced combat and was exposed to mortar blasts and improvised explosive device blasts less than 50 m away. Following his second deployment he developed a progressive history of cognitive impairment, impaired memory, behavioral and mood disorders, and alcohol abuse. Neuropsychiatric assessment revealed a diagnosis of PTSD with hyperarousal (irritability and insomnia) and numbing. He committed suicide approximately 8 months after his honorable discharge from the USMC. His brain at autopsy appeared grossly unremarkable except for congestive brain swelling. There was no atrophy or remote focal traumatic brain injury such as contusional necrosis or hemorrhage. Histochemical and immunohistochemical brain tissue analysis revealed CTE changes comprising multifocal, neocortical, and subcortical neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic threads (ranging from none, to sparse, to frequent) with the skip phenomenon, accentuated in the depths of sulci and in the frontal cortex. The subcortical white matter showed mild rarefaction, sparse perivascular and neuropil infiltration by histiocytes, and mild fibrillary astrogliosis. Apolipoprotein E genotype was 3/4. The authors report this case as a sentinel case of CTE in an Iraqi war veteran diagnosed with PTSD to possibly stimulate new lines of thought and research in the possible pathoetiology and pathogenesis of PTSD in military veterans as part of the CTE spectrum of diseases, and as chronic sequelae and outcomes of repetitive traumatic brain injuries.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Michael M. McDowell, Ronald L. Hamilton, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and Peter C. Gerszten


Increased survival time after diagnosis of neoplastic disease has resulted in a gradual increase in spine tumor incidence. Radiosurgery is frequently a viable alternative to operative management in a population with severe medical comorbidities. The authors sought to assess the histopathological consequences of radiosurgery in the subset of patients progressing to operative intervention.


Eighteen patients who underwent radiosurgery for spine tumors between 2008 and 2014 subsequently progressed to surgical treatment. A histopathological examination of these cases was performed. Indications for surgery included symptomatic compression fractures, radiographic instability, and symptoms of cord or cauda equina compression. Biopsy samples were obtained from the tumor within the radiosurgical zone in all cases and were permanently fixated. Viable tumor samples were stained for Ki 67.


Fifteen patients had metastatic lesions and 3 patients had neurofibromas. The mean patient age was 57 years. The operative indication was symptomatic compression in 10 cases (67%). The most frequent metastatic lesions were breast cancer (4 cases), renal cell carcinoma (3), prostate cancer (2), and endometrial cancer (2). In 9 (60%) of the 15 metastatic cases, histological examination of the lesions showed minimal evidence of inflammation. Viable tumor at the margins of the radiosurgery was seen in 9 (60%) of the metastatic cases. Necrosis in the tumor bed was frequent, as was fibrotic bone marrow. Vascular ectasia was seen in 2 of 15 metastatic cases, but sclerosis with ectasia was frequent. No evidence of malignant conversion was seen in the periphery of the lesions in the 3 neurofibroma cases. In 1 case of neurofibroma, the lesion demonstrated some small areas of remnant tumor in the radiosurgical target zone.


This case series demonstrates important histopathological characteristics of spinal lesions treated by SRS. Regions with the highest exposure to radiation appear to be densely necrotic and show little evidence of tumor growth, whereas peripheral regions distant from the radiation dosage are more likely to demonstrate viable tumor in malignant and benign neoplasms. Physiological tissue appears to be similarly affected. With additional investigation, a more homogenized field of hypofractionated radiation exposure may allow for tumor obliteration with relative preservation of critical anatomical structures.

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Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, Sabri Yilmaz, Lorelei Grunwaldt, Ronald L. Hamilton, David J. Salvetti and Stephanie Greene

While spinal epidural arteriovenous malformations, fistulas, and shunts are well reported, the presence of a venous malformation in the spinal epidural space is a rare phenomenon. Herein, the authors report the clinical presentation, imaging findings, pathological features, and the outcome of surgical and percutaneous interventional management of a mediastinal and spinal epidural venous malformation in a young woman who presented clinically with neurogenic claudication from presumed venous hypertension precipitating the formation of a syrinx. The patient underwent a C6–T5 osteoplastic laminectomy for decompression of the spinal canal and subtotal resection of the epidural venous malformation, followed by percutaneous sclerotherapy of the mediastinal and residual anterior spinal venous malformation. She developed transient loss of dorsal column sensation, which returned to baseline within 3 weeks of the surgery. A 6-month postoperative MRI study revealed complete resolution of the syrinx and the mediastinal venous malformation. Twelve months after the surgery, the patient has had resolution of all neurological symptoms with the exception of her premorbid migraine headaches. A multidisciplinary approach with partial resection and the use of percutaneous sclerotherapy for the residual malformation can be used to successfully treat a complex venous malformation.

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Ali I. Raja, Gabrielle A. Yeaney, Regina I. Jakacki, Ronald L. Hamilton and Ian F. Pollack

Neurocytomas are rare tumors of the central nervous system that are typically located in the ventricular system. The authors report a case of a child with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) who had a tumor of the optic nerves and chiasm with signal abnormality extending through the diencephalon, as well as an occipital lobe mass, which was presumed to be part of the visual pathway neoplasm. Because the occipital lobe lesion slowly increased in size over time, while the other areas remained stable, a biopsy was performed. Pathological evaluation revealed an extraventricular neurocytoma of extraventricular neurocytoma. To the authors' knowledge, neurocytomas have not been previously reported in patients with NF1. Because visual pathway gliomas are extremely common in children with NF1, they are often treated empirically as low-grade gliomas without histological confirmation. The importance of obtaining a biopsy in lesions that have atypical imaging features is highlighted.

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Samuel S. Shin, Geoffrey Murdoch, Ronald L. Hamilton, Amir H. Faraji, Hideyuki Kano, Nathan T. Zwagerman, Paul A. Gardner, L. Dade Lunsford and Robert M. Friedlander


Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a therapeutic option for repeatedly hemorrhagic cavernous malformations (CMs) located in areas deemed to be high risk for resection. During the latency period of 2 or more years after SRS, recurrent hemorrhage remains a persistent risk until the obliterative process has finished. The pathological response to SRS has been studied in relatively few patients. The authors of the present study aimed to gain insight into the effect of SRS on CM and to propose possible mechanisms leading to recurrent hemorrhages following SRS.


During a 13-year interval between 2001 and 2013, bleeding recurred in 9 patients with CMs that had been treated using Gamma Knife surgery at the authors' institution. Microsurgical removal was subsequently performed in 5 of these patients, who had recurrent hemorrhages between 4 months and 7 years after SRS. Specimens from 4 patients were available for analysis and used for this report.


Histopathological analysis demonstrated that vascular sclerosis develops as early as 4 months after SRS. In the samples from 2 to 7 years after SRS, sclerotic vessels were prominent, but there were also vessels with incomplete sclerosis as well as some foci of neovascularization.


Recurrent bleeding after SRS for CM could be related to incomplete sclerosis of the vessels, but neovascularization may also play a role.

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H. Bruce Hamilton, David R. Hinton, Ronald E. Law, Rayudu Gopalakrishna, Yu Zhuang Su, Zhen-Hai Chen, Martin H. Weiss and William T. Couldwell

✓ Protein kinase C (PKC) is an enzyme involved in the regulation of cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation in a number of tissues including the anterior pituitary, in which it is also believed to play a role in hormone secretion. Protein kinase C activity and expression have been found to be greater in adenomatous pituitary cells than in normal human and rat pituitary cells and higher in invasive pituitary tumor cells than in noninvasive ones. Inhibition of PKC activity has been shown in a variety of tumor cells to inhibit growth in a dose-related fashion. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether hypericin, a potent inhibitor of PKC activity that may be administered clinically, alters the growth and proliferation in established pituitary adenoma lines and to determine if inhibition of PKC activity induces apoptosis, as reported in some other tumor cell types. Two established pituitary adenoma cell lines, AtT-20 and GH4C1, were treated with hypericin in tissue culture for defined periods following passage. Inhibition of growth was found to be dose dependent in all three cell lines in low micromolar concentrations of hypericin, as determined by viable cell counts, methylthiotetrazole assay, and [3H]thymidine uptake studies. Concentrations of hypericin as low as 100 nM also induced apoptosis in these established lines, whereas treatment of normal human fibroblasts with a concentration of 10 µM failed to induce apoptosis. The potential use of hypericin in the therapy of pituitary adenomas warrants additional in vitro investigations with the aim of later moving toward therapeutic trials in selected patients in whom surgical or medical therapy has failed.

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Ian F. Pollack, Ronald L. Hamilton, C. David James, Sydney D. Finkelstein, Judith Burnham, Allan J. Yates, Emiko J. Holmes, Tianni Zhou, Jonathan L. Finlay and Group for the Children’s Oncology


In reporting on molecular studies involving malignant gliomas in adults, authors have noted that deletions of PTEN and amplification of EGFR are common and may contribute to tumor development, providing a rationale for a number of therapies aimed at these molecular targets. The frequency of comparable abnormalities has not been defined in a sizable pediatric cohort. To address this issue, we examined tumor samples from the Children’s Cancer Group 945 study, a large randomized trial of treatment for childhood malignant gliomas.


Tissue sections in 62 evaluable cases were examined, and the tumors were isolated by microdissection. Polymerase chain reaction amplification was used to detect PTEN mutations. Deletions of PTEN were also assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in 27 cases and loss of heterozygosity analysis in 54; EGFR was assessed using immunohistochemistry to identify areas with maximal EGFR expression, followed by FISH to determine EGFR amplification.

Alteration of the PTEN sequence was detected in just one of 62 tumors, in conjunction with loss of chromosome 10; PTEN deletions without mutation were evident in seven additional tumors. The PTEN alterations were more common in glioblastoma multiforme (seven of 25 tumors) than other tumor subgroups (one of 37 tumors) (p = 0.0056). Although 14 of 38 evaluable tumors had increased EGFR expression compared to normal tissue, only one tumor exhibited amplification of EGFR.


Alterations in PTEN and amplification of EGFR are uncommon in pediatric malignant gliomas, in contrast to adult malignant gliomas. From this one can infer that the pediatric and adult tumors involve distinct molecular causes. The results of this study have important implications for the adaptation of glioma therapies aimed at molecular targets in adults to the treatment of childhood gliomas, and highlight the need for investigations of therapies specifically directed toward childhood tumors.