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Russell R. Lonser

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Satoru Shimizu

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Steven M. Sorscher

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Russell R. Lonser, Ronald R. Buggage and Robert J. Weil

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Marc R. Mayberg

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Russell R. Lonser, Lynnette Nieman and Edward H. Oldfield

Cushing's disease (CD) is the result of excess secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by a benign monoclonal pituitary adenoma. The excessive secretion of ACTH stimulates secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, resulting in supraphysiological levels of circulating cortisol. The pathophysiological levels of cortisol are associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and early death. Successful resection of the CD-associated ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma is the treatment of choice and results in immediate biochemical remission with preservation of pituitary function. Accurate and early identification of CD is critical for effective surgical management and optimal prognosis. The authors review the current pathophysiological principles, diagnostic methods, and management of CD.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Russell R. Lonser and Edward H. Oldfield

Although he never performed a pituitary operation for the disease, Harvey Cushing was the first to describe and treat patients with Cushing disease (CD). Other surgeons at the time were reluctant to operate on the pituitary due to the normal sella on skull radiographs in CD and the unclear etiology of the disorder. To better define and understand factors influencing the history of pituitary surgery for CD, the authors analyzed historical texts related to CD biology, diagnosis, and treatment. Cushing's monograph on basophilic pituitary adenomas and cortisol excess appeared in 1932. One year later in 1933, Alfred Pattison performed the first successful pituitary operation for CD by implanting radon seeds in the sella. Resection of a pituitary adenoma for CD was attempted 1 month later in 1933 by Howard Naffziger, resulting in only transient improvement that corresponded to the lack of tumor in the resected tissue. Soon thereafter, Susman in 1935 and Costello in 1936 described pituitary basophilic adenomas at autopsy in patients without premorbid endocrinopathy. They concluded that the adrenal gland was the cause of CD, which resulted in a 3-decade abandonment of pituitary surgery for CD. Jules Hardy in 1963 used the operating microscope to perform the first selective removal of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting microadenoma, which established a pituitary cause and defined the modern treatment of CD. Subsequent reports by Hardy, Laws, and Wilson resulted in widespread acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD. Initial reluctance to operate on the pituitary for CD was multifaceted and included general uncertainty surrounding the etiology of Cushing syndrome as well as a lack of early surgical success, both due to the small size of ACTH-secreting adenomas. Selective removal of ACTH-secreting adenomas identified the source of CD and ended the delay in acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD.

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Edjah K. Nduom, Stuart Walbridge and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Although pulsatile and continuous infusion paradigms have been described for convective delivery of drugs, the effectiveness and properties of each flow paradigm are unknown. To determine the effectiveness and properties of pulsatile and continuous convective infusion paradigms, the authors compared these convective flow methods in the gray and white matter of primates.

Methods

Six primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent convective infusion of Gd-DPTA (5 mM) into the cerebral gray matter (thalamus) or white matter (frontal lobe) using pulsed (intermittent pulses of 15 μl/min) or continuous (1 μl/min) convective flow. Results were assessed by clinical MRI and histological analyses.

Results

Distribution of Gd-DTPA infusate in gray and white matter by pulsed and continuous flow was clearly identified using MRI, which revealed that both convective flow methods demonstrated an increase in the volume of distribution (Vd) with increasing volume of infusion (Vi) in the surrounding gray and white matter. Although the mean (± SD) gray matter Vd:Vi ratio for the pulsed infusions (4.2 ± 0.5) was significantly lower than the mean Vd:Vi ratio for continuous infusions (5.4 ± 0.5; a 22% difference [p = 0.0006]), the difference between pulsed (3.8 ± 0.4) and continuous (4.3 ± 1.2) infusions in white matter was not significantly different (p = 0.3). Pulsed infusions were associated with more leakback (12.3% ± 6.4% of Vi) than continuous infusions (3.9% ± 7.8%), although this difference was not significant (p = 0.2). All animals tolerated the infusions and there was no histological evidence of tissue injury at the infusion sites.

Conclusions

Although pulsed and continuous infusion flow paradigms can be safely and effectively used for convective delivery into both gray and white matter, continuous infusion is associated with a higher Vd:Vi ratio than pulsatile infusion in gray matter. High rates of infusion (15 μl/min) can be used to deliver infusate without any significant leakback and without any clinical or histological evidence of injury.

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Shailendra Kapoor

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Marsha J. Merrill, Nancy A. Edwards and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Central nervous system hemangioblastomas are the most common manifestation of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, an autosomal dominant tumor suppressor syndrome that results in loss of VHL protein function and continuous upregulation of hypoxia-inducible factors. These tumors are composed of neoplastic stromal cells and abundant vasculature. Stromal cells express markers consistent with multipotent embryonically arrested hemangioblasts, which are precursors for hematopoietic and vascular lineages. Notch receptors are transmembrane signaling molecules that regulate multiple developmental processes including hematopoiesis and vasculogenesis. To investigate the importance of notch signaling in the development of VHL disease–associated CNS hemangioblastomas, the authors examined the presence of the four notch receptors and downstream notch effectors in this setting.

Methods

The authors used surgical specimens obtained from confirmed VHL-associated hemangioblastomas. Immunohistochemical analysis for the four notch receptors and the downstream effectors was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections. Western blot analysis for HES1 was performed on frozen specimens.

Results

All four notch receptors are present in hemangioblastomas. NOTCH1 and NOTCH4 receptors were widely and prominently expressed in both the stromal and vascular cells, NOTCH2 receptor expression was limited to primarily stromal cells, and NOTCH3 receptor expression was limited to vascular cells. All 4 receptors displayed a nuclear presence. Immunohistochemical analysis also demonstrated that downstream notch effectors, HES1 and HES5, were uniformly expressed in tumor stromal and vascular cells, but HES3, HEY1, and HEY2 were not. Strong HES1 expression was confirmed by Western blot analysis.

Conclusions

The presence of all four notch receptors and downstream effector molecules suggests that the notch signaling pathway plays a critical role in the maintenance of the undifferentiated pluripotent phenotype of these tumors and in the associated vascular response. Moreover, the prominent expression of notch receptors in VHL-associated CNS hemangioblastomas reveals a new and possibly potent therapeutic target.