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Neurosurg Focus. 2020 Jan 1;48(1):E2. doi: 10.3171/2019.10.FOCUS19703.

Evaluating infusate parameters for direct drug delivery to the brainstem: a comparative study of convection-enhanced delivery versus osmotic pump delivery.

Author information

1Department of Neurologic Surgery, Mayo Clinic.
2Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
3Department of Radiation Oncology; and.
4Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.



Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) and osmotic pump delivery both have been promoted as promising techniques to deliver drugs to pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs). Correspondingly, the aim of this study was to understand how infusate molecular weight (MW), duration of delivery, and mechanism of delivery (CED or osmotic pump) affect volume of distribution (Vd) in the brainstem, to better inform drug selection and delivery in future DIPG investigations.


A series of in vivo experiments were conducted using rat models. CED and osmotic pump delivery systems were surgically implanted in the brainstem, and different MW fluorescent dextran beads were infused either once (acute) or daily for 5 days (chronic) in a volume infused (Vi). Brainstems were harvested after the last infusion, and Vd was quantified using serial sectioning and fluorescence imaging.


Fluorescence imaging showed infusate uptake within the brainstem for both systems without complication. A significant inverse relationship was observed between infusate MW and Vd in all settings, which was distinctly exponential in nature in the setting of acute delivery across the 570-Da to 150-kDa range. Chronic duration and CED technique resulted in significantly greater Vd compared to acute duration or osmotic pump delivery, respectively. When accounting for Vi, acute infusion yielded significantly greater Vd/Vi than chronic infusion. The distribution in CED versus osmotic pump delivery was significantly affected by infusate MW at higher weights.


Here the authors demonstrate that infusate MW, duration of infusion, and infusion mechanism all impact the Vd of an infused agent and should be considered when selecting drugs and infusion parameters for novel investigations to treat DIPGs.


BBB = blood-brain barrier; BLI = bioluminescence imaging; CED; CED = convection-enhanced delivery; DIPG; DIPG = diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; FITC = fluorescein isothiocyanate; MW = molecular weight; PDX = patient-derived xenograft; Vd = volume of distribution; Vi = volume infused; brainstem; convection-enhanced delivery; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; molecular weight; osmotic pump; volume of distribution


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