Convection-enhanced delivery of botulinum toxin serotype A into the nonhuman primate cisterna magna and hippocampus

Davis P. Argersinger, Stuart Walbridge, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Tianxia Wu, John A. Butman, John D. Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE Botulinum toxin serotype A (BoNT/A) was reported to raise the seizure threshold when injected into the seizure focus of a kindled rodent model. Delivering BoNT/A to the nonhuman primate (NHP) central nervous system via convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has not been performed. The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity and distribution characteristics of CED of BoNT/A into the NHP hippocampus and cisterna magna. METHODS Escalating BoNT/A doses were delivered by CED into the NHP hippocampus (n = 4) and cisterna magna (n = 5) for behavioral and histological assessment and to determine the highest nonlethal dose (LD0) and median lethal dose (LD50). Hippocampal BoNT/A was coinfused with Gd-albumin, a surrogate MRI tracer. Gd-albumin and radioiodinated BoNT/A (125I-BoNT/A) were coinfused into the hippocampus of 3 additional NHPs to determine BoNT/A distribution by in vivo MRI and postmortem quantitative autoradiography. Scintillation counting of CSF assessed the flow of 125I-BoNT/A from the hippocampus to CSF postinfusion. RESULTS LD0 and LD50 were 4.2 and 18 ng/kg, and 5 and > 5 ng/kg for the NHP hippocampus and cisterna magna, respectively. Gd-albumin and 125I-BoNT/A completely perfused the hippocampus (155–234 mm3) in 4 of 7 NHPs. Fifteen percent of BoNT/A entered CSF after hippocampal infusion. The MRI distribution volume of coinfused Gd-albumin (VdMRI) was similar to the quantitative autoradiography distribution of 125I-BoNT/A (VdQAR) (mean VdMRI = 139.5 mm3 [n = 7]; VdQAR = 134.8 mm3 [n = 3]; r = 1.00, p < 0.0001). No infusion-related toxicity was identified histologically except that directly attributable to needle placement. CONCLUSIONS Gd-albumin accurately tracked BoNT/A distribution on MRI. BoNT/A did not produce CNS toxicity. BoNT/A LD0 exceeded 10-fold the dose administered safely to humans for cosmesis and dystonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Botulinum toxin serotype A
  • Convection-enhanced delivery
  • Hippocampus
  • Nonhuman primates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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