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J Neurosurg. 2000 Dec;93(6):1033-40.

Subnecrotic stereotactic radiosurgery controlling epilepsy produced by kainic acid injection in rats.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, and the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



Any analysis of the potential role of stereotactic radiosurgery for epilepsy requires the experimental study of its potential antiepileptogenic, behavioral, and histological effects. The authors hypothesized that radiosurgery performed using subnecrotic tissue doses would reduce or abolish epilepsy without causing demonstrable behavioral side effects. The kainic acid model in rats was chosen to test this hypothesis.


Chronic epilepsy was successfully created by stereotactic injection of kainic acid (8 microg) into the rat hippocampus. Epileptic rats were divided into three groups: high-dose radiosurgery (60 Gy, 16 animals), low-dose (30 Gy, 15 animals), and controls. After chronic epilepsy was confirmed by observation of the seizure pattern and by using electroencephalography (EEG), radiosurgery was performed on Day 10 postinjection. Serial seizure and behavior observation was supplemented by weekly EEG sessions performed for the next 11 weeks. To detect behavioral deficits, the Morris water maze test was performed during Week 12 to study spatial learning and memory. Tasks involved a hidden platform, a visible platform, and a probe trial. After radiosurgery, the incidence of observed and EEG-defined seizures was markedly reduced in rats from either radiosurgically treated group. A significant reduction was noted after high-dose (60 Gy) radiosurgery in Weeks 5 to 9 (p < 0.003). After low-dose (30 Gy) radiosurgery, a significant reduction was found after 7 to 9 weeks (p < 0.04). During the task involving the hidden platform, kainic acid-injected rats displayed significantly prolonged latencies compared with those of control animals (p < 0.05). Hippocampal radiosurgery did not worsen this performance. The probe trial showed that kainic acid-injected rats that did not undergo radiosurgery spent significantly less time than control rats in the target quadrant (p = 0.03). Rats that had undergone radiosurgery displayed no difference compared with control rats and demonstrated better performance than rats that received kainic acid alone (p = 0.04). Radiosurgery caused no adverse histological effects.


In a rat model, radiosurgery performed with subnecrotic tissue doses controlled epilepsy without causing subsequent behavioral impairment.

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