Ultrastructural changes in arteriovenous malformations after gamma knife surgery: An electron microscopic study

György T. Szeifert, Ottó Major, Andras A. Kemeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Object. The authors analyzed morphological alterations at the subcellular level by undertaking transmission electron microscopy in arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) after gamma knife surgery (GKS). Methods. Histological, immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic investigations were performed in a series of pathological specimens obtained in seven patients. The patients harbored cerebral AVMs that had been previously treated with GKS and had suffered subsequent bleeding 10 to 52 months after treatment. Histological studies revealed spindle cell proliferation in the connective tissue stroma and in the subendothelial region of the irradiated AVM vessels. Electron microscopy demonstrated different ultrastructural characteristics of this spindle cell population. There were cells with a smooth-edged oval nuclei surrounded by massive bundles of collagen fibers in the extracellular matrix. Other cells with the same nuclear morphology contained abundant intracytoplasmic filaments. Nuclear deformation was connected to a fibrillary system developed within the cytoplasm, and peripheral attachment sites were related to an extracellular layer of basement membrane-like material arranged parallel to the cell border. Also present were cells containing well-developed cisterns of rough endoplasmic reticulum and dense bodies at the periphery of the cytoplasm with folded, irregular nuclei. Conclusions. The ultrastructural and histological characteristics of the spindle cell population in the GKS-treated AVMs are similar to those designated as myofibroblasts in wound healing processes and pathological fibromatoses. Because similar cell modifications have not been demonstrated in control nonirradiated AVM specimens, these myofibroblasts may contribute to the shrinking process and final occlusion of AVMs after radiosurgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-292
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Gamma knife surgery
  • Spindle cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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