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Byung Chan Lim, Jong Hee Chae, Seung-Ki Kim, Sung-Hye Park, Kyu-Chang Wang, Ji Yeoun Lee and Ji Hoon Phi

Brainstem glioma is a highly devastating disease, and any mass-like lesion in the brainstem can raise suspicion of this diagnosis. However, other inflammatory, demyelinating, or degenerative diseases can mimic brainstem glioma in clinical presentation and imaging features. Therefore, diagnosis based solely on imaging is often insufficient for brainstem lesions and may lead to incorrect diagnosis and treatment.

This case report is the first description of central nervous system aquaporin-4 (AQP4) autoimmunity confined mainly to the brainstem. It demonstrates the wide spectrum of neuroinflammatory diseases in children and highlights the utility of surgical biopsy for suspicious brainstem lesions with atypical imaging features for glioma.

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Hyun-Seung Kang, Youn-Joo Moon, Young-Yim Kim, Woong-Yang Park, Ae Kyung Park, Kyu-Chang Wang, Jeong Eun Kim, Ji Hoon Phi, Ji Yeoun Lee and Seung-Ki Kim

Object

Moyamoya disease (MMD) is a cerebrovascular occlusive disease affecting bilateral internal carotid termini. Smooth-muscle cells are one of the major cell types involved in this disease process. The characteristics of circulating smooth-muscle progenitor cells (SPCs) in MMD are poorly understood. The authors purified SPCs from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD and sought to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in SPCs from these patients.

Methods

The authors cultured and isolated SPCs from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD (n = 25) and healthy control volunteers (n = 22). After confirmation of the cellular phenotype, RNA was extracted from the cells and DEGs were identified using a commercially available gene chip. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed to confirm the putative pathogenetic DEGs.

Results

The SPC-type outgrowth cells in patients with MMD invariably showed a hill-and-valley appearance under microscopic examination, and demonstrated high α–smooth muscle actin, myosin heavy chain, and calponin expression (96.5% ± 2.1%, 42.8% ± 18.6%, and 87.1% ± 8.2%, respectively), and minimal CD31 expression (less than 1%) on fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. The SPCs in the MMD group tended to make more irregularly arranged and thickened tubules on the tube formation assay. In the SPCs from patients with MMD, 286 genes (124 upregulated and 162 downregulated) were differentially expressed; they were related to cell adhesion, cell migration, immune response, and vascular development.

Conclusions

With adequate culture conditions, SPCs could be established from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD. These cells showed specific DEGs compared with healthy control volunteers. This study provides a novel experimental cell model for further research of MMD.

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Ji Yeoun Lee, Sangjoon Chong, Young Hun Choi, Ji Hoon Phi, Jung-Eun Cheon, Seung-Ki Kim, Sung Hye Park, In-One Kim and Kyu-Chang Wang

OBJECTIVE

Since the entity limited dorsal myeloschisis (LDM) was proposed, numerous confusing clinical cases have been renamed according to the embryopathogenesis. However, clinical application of this label appears to require some clarification with regard to pathology. There have been cases in which all criteria for the diagnosis of LDM were met except for the presence of a neural component in the stalk, an entity the authors call “probable” LDM. The present study was performed to meticulously review these cases and suggest that a modified surgical strategy using limited laminectomy is sufficient to achieve the surgical goal of untethering.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the imaging findings, operative notes, and pathology reports of spinal dysraphism patients with subcutaneous stalk lesions who had presented to their institution between 2010 and 2014.

RESULTS

Among 33 patients with LDM, 13 had the typical nonsaccular lesions with simple subcutaneous stalks connecting the skin opening to the spinal cord. Four cases had “true” LDM meeting all criteria for diagnosis, including pathological confirmation of CNS tissue by immunohistochemical staining with glial fibrillary acidic protein. There were also 9 cases in which all clinical, imaging, and surgical findings were compatible with LDM, but the “neural” component in the resected stalk was not confirmed. For all the cases, limited exposure of the stalk was done and satisfactory untethering was achieved.

CONCLUSIONS

One can speculate based on the initial error of embryogenesis that if the entire stalk were traced to the point of insertion on the cord, the neural component would be proven. However, this would require an extended level of laminectomy/laminotomy, which may be unnecessary, at least with regard to the completeness of untethering. Therefore, the authors propose that for some selected cases of LDM, a minimal extent of laminectomy may suffice for untethering, although it may be insufficient for diagnosing a true LDM.

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Jung Won Choi, Ji Yeoun Lee, Ji Hoon Phi, Kyu-Chang Wang, Hyun-Tai Chung, Sun Ha Paek, Dong Gyu Kim, Sung-Hye Park and Seung-Ki Kim

Object

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) is an autosomal-dominant inherited disease, characterized by multiple neoplasia syndromes, including meningioma, schwannoma, glioma, and ependymoma. In this report, the authors present their clinical experience with pediatric NF2 patients. In particular, they focused on the clinical course of vestibular schwannoma (VS), including the natural growth rate, tumor control, and functional hearing outcomes.

Methods

From May 1988 to June 2012, the authors recruited patients who were younger than 18 years and fulfilled the Manchester criteria. In total, 25 patients were enrolled in this study. The authors analyzed the clinical course of these patients. In addition, they measured the natural growth rate of VS before any treatment in these children with NF2. Then, they evaluated the tumor control rate and functional hearing outcomes after the treatment of VS.

Results

The mean age at the onset of NF2-related symptoms was 9.9 ± 4.5 years (mean ± SD, range 1–17 years). The mean age at the diagnosis of NF2 was 12.9 ± 2.9 years (range 5–17 years). The mean follow-up period was 89.3 months (range 12–311 months). As initial manifestations, nonvestibular symptoms were frequently observed in pediatric patients with NF2. The mean natural growth rate of VS was 0.33 ± 0.41 cm3/year (range 0–1.35 cm3/year). The tumor control rate of VS was 35.3% at 3 years after Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The actuarial rate of useful hearing preservation was 67% in the 1st year and 53% in the 5th year after GKS.

Conclusions

Clinical manifestations in children with NF2 were highly variable, compared with their adult counterparts. The natural growth rate of VS in children is slow, and this oncological feature may explain the diverse clinical manifestations besides vestibular symptoms in children with NF2. The treatment outcome of GKS for VS in children with NF2 was not favorable compared with previous reports of affected adults.

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Ji Hoon Phi, Jung Won Choi, Moon-Woo Seong, Tackeun Kim, Youn Joo Moon, Joongyub Lee, Eun Jung Koh, Seul Ki Ryu, Tae Hee Kang, Jae Seung Bang, Chang Wan Oh, Sung Sup Park, Ji Yeoun Lee, Kyu-Chang Wang and Seung-Ki Kim

OBJECTIVE

In a minority of patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF-1), cerebral vasculopathy reminiscent of moyamoya disease develops. This phenomenon is called moyamoya syndrome (MMS), but there are no known risk factors for the prediction of MMS in NF-1 patients. Polymorphism of the RNF213 gene has exhibited strong associations with familial and sporadic moyamoya disease and other cerebral vasculopathies. The aim of this study is to find whether the RNF213 c.14576G>A variant is associated with MMS development in the NF-1 population or not.

METHODS

The MMS group included 16 NF-1 patients with documented MMS. The control group consisted of 97 NF-1 patients without MMS. Genomic DNA samples were obtained from the saliva or blood of both groups, and the presence of the RNF213 c.14576G>A variant was assessed by Sanger sequencing.

RESULTS

In the MMS group, 3 patients had the RNF213 c.14576G>A variant (18.7%), whereas no patients with this genetic variation were observed in the control group (0%). There was a meaningful association between the RNF213 c.14576G>A variant and MMS development (p = 0.0024). The crude odds ratio was calculated as 50.57 (95% CI 1.57–1624.41). All 3 patients with MMS and the c.14576G>A variant were diagnosed with MMS at an early age and had bilateral involvement.

CONCLUSIONS

The RNF213 c.14576G>A variant is more common in NF-1 patients who develop MMS than in NF-1 patients without MMS. This variant might be a susceptibility gene for the NF-1–moyamoya connection.

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Ji Hoon Phi, Seung-Ki Kim, Joongyub Lee, Chul-Kee Park, Il Han Kim, Hyo Seop Ahn, Hee Young Shin, In-One Kim, Hee-Won Jung, Dong Gyu Kim, Sun Ha Paek and Kyu-Chang Wang

Object

Intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) frequently present with bifocal lesions in both the suprasellar and pineal areas. The pathogenesis of these bifocal GCTs has been the subject of controversy. Bifocal GCTs may be caused by synchronous tumors or by metastatic spread of tumor cells from one site to the other. The prognosis associated with bifocal GCTs has also been a cause of concern.

Methods

The authors constructed a single-institution patient cohort comprising 181 patients with intracranial GCTs. The clinical characteristics of bifocal GCTs were compared with those of suprasellar and pineal GCTs.

Results

Bifocal GCTs were observed in 23 patients (12.8%). Eighteen patients presented with bifocal GCTs that were diagnosed as germinomas, but 5 patients exhibited mixed GCTs. Analyses of age distributions and comparisons of tumor sizes were compatible with a model of a metastatic origin of bifocal GCTs. Eleven patients (47.8%) presenting with bifocal GCTs exhibited tumor seeding at presentation. Tumor seeding was significantly associated with bifocal lesions (p < 0.001). Patients with bifocal germinomas showed significantly shorter event-free survival and overall survival than did those presenting with germinomas from a single site of origin.

Conclusions

Bifocal GCTs are not restricted to germinomas, as had been previously reported, but do include mixed GCTs. The authors hypothesize that bifocal GCTs may result from the metastatic spread of suprasellar or pineal GCTs. The bifocal presentation of germinomas may be a poor prognostic sign and should alert clinicians to the possibility of a disseminated disease.