A novel brainstem tumor model: Functional and histopathological characterization

George I. Jallo, Andrey Volkov, Cyrus Wong, Benjamin S. Carson, Margaret B. Penno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Diffuse pontine gliomas remain a challenging and frustrating disease to treat. The survival rates for these high-grade brainstem tumors (BSTs) is dismal and optimal therapy has yet to be determined. The development of a satisfactory brainstem tumor model is necessary for testing new therapeutic paradigms that may prolong survival. Materials and methods: We report the surgical technique, functional testing, and histopathological features of a novel brainstem tumor model in rats. Female Fischer 344 rats (n = 45) were randomized to receive an injection of either 3 μl of 9L gliosarcoma cells (100,000 cells, n =), 3 μl of F98 glioma cells (100,000 cells, n =10), or 3 μl of medium (Dulbecco's modified eagle medium) into the pontine tegmentum. Using a cannulated guide screw system, implanted in the skull of the animal, we injected each group at coordinates 1.4 mm right of the sagittal and 1.0 mm anterior of the lambdoid sutures, at a depth of 7.0 mm from the dura. The head was positioned 5° from horizontal before injection. The rats were post-operatively evaluated for neurological deficits using an automated test. Kaplan-Meier curves were generated for survival and disease progression, and brains were processed postmortem for histopathology. Results and discussion: 9L and F98 tumor cells grew in 100% of animals injected and resulted in a statistically significant mean onset of hemiparesis of 16.5±0.56 days (P = 0.001, log-rank test), compared to animals in the control group which lacked neurological deficits by day 60. The animals with tumor cells implanted demonstrated significant deterioration of function on the automated rod testing. Animals in the control group showed no functional or pathological signs of tumor. Progression to hemiparesis was consistent in all tumor-injected animals, with predictable onset of symptoms occurring approximately 17 days post-surgery. The histopathological characteristics of the 9L and F98 BSTs were comparable to those of aggressive human BSTs. Conclusion: The establishment of this animal tumor model will facilitate the testing of new therapeutic paradigms for the treatment of BSTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1525
Number of pages7
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Animal model
  • Brainstem
  • Pontine glioma
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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