Simulating vasogenic brain edema using chronic VEGF infusion


Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print. OBJECTIVE To study peritumoral brain edema (PTBE), it is necessary to create a model that accurately simulates vasogenic brain edema (VBE) without introducing a complicated tumor environment. PTBE associated with brain tumors is predominantly a result of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secreted by brain tumors, and VEGF infusion alone can lead to histological blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown in the absence of tumor. VBE is intimately linked to BBB breakdown. The authors sought to establish a model for VBE with chronic infusion of VEGF that can be validated by serial in-vivo MRI and histological findings. METHODS Male Fischer rats (n = 182) underwent stereotactic striatal implantation of MRI-safe brain cannulas for chronic infusion of VEGF (2–20 µg/ml). Following a preinfusion phase (4–6 days), the rats were exposed to VEGF or control rat serum albumin (1.5 µl/hr) for as long as 144 hours. Serial MRI was performed during infusion on a high-field (9.4-T) machine at 12–24, 24–36, 48–72, and 120–144 hours. Rat brains were then collected and histological analysis was performed. RESULTS Control animals and animals infused with 2 µg/ml of VEGF experienced no neurological deficits, seizure activity, or abnormal behavior. Animals treated with VEGF demonstrated a significantly larger volume (42.90 ± 3.842 mm3) of T2 hyper-attenuation at 144 hours when compared with the volume (8.585 ± 1.664 mm3) in control animals (mean difference 34.31 ± 4.187 mm3, p < 0.0001, 95% CI 25.74–42.89 mm3). Postcontrast T1 enhancement in the juxtacanalicular region indicating BBB breakdown

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