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Am J Pathol. 1997 Nov;151(5):1477-86.

Subependymal astrocytic hamartomas in the Eker rat model of tuberous sclerosis.

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Division of Medical Sciences, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Tuberous sclerosis (TSC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome that is linked to two genetic loci: TSC1 (9q34) and TSC2 (16p13). Brain manifestations such as cortical tubers and subependymal hamartoma/giant cell astrocytomas are major causes of TSC-related morbidity. In this study, we describe the central nervous system involvement in a unique rodent model of tuberous sclerosis. The Eker rat carries a spontaneous germline mutation of the TSC2 gene and is predisposed to multiple neoplasia. In a series of 45 adult Eker carriers (TSC2 +/-), three types of focal intracranial lesions were found, of which the subependymal and subcortical hamartomas were most prevalent (65%). There exist remarkable phenotypic similarities between the Eker rat and human subependymal lesions. Our study indicates that the predominant cellular phenotype of the subependymal hamartomas is astroglial and suggests that the neuronal contribution within these lesions is, in part, the result of pre-existing myelinated axons. The hamartomas did not show evidence of loss of the wild-type TSC2 allele; it remains to be determined whether TSC2 inactivation is necessary for their pathogenesis. This genetically-defined rodent model may be useful in elucidating the molecular and developmental basis of the subependymal giant cell astrocytoma in humans.

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