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.
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.
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.
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.