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Domenico Gerardo Iacopino, Maria Giusa, Alfredo Conti, Salvatore Cardali and Francesco Tomasello

The authors describe a case of spinal arteriovenous fistula (AVF) treated by a microvauscular Doppler–assisted surgical interruption of the arterialized vein. Microvascular Doppler monitoring represents a valid, widely available, non-invasive tool that enables identification, through flow spectrum analysis, of components of this type of vascular malformation. In this case because the location of the fistula was identified prior to opening the dura only minimally invasive surgery was required. Direct recordings of the arterialized draining vein and the nidus of the fistula demonstrated a pathological spectrum caused by the arterial supply and the disturbed venous outflow in which a high-resistance flow pattern and low diastolic flow resembling an arterial-like flow velocity were observed. The fistula was obliterated by interruption of the draining vein, and Doppler measurements provided information on flow velocity changes in the medullary veins from an arterial to a venous pattern. The absence of any residual flow in the AVF confirmed successful hemodynamic treatment.

Intraoperative microvascular Doppler recording during surgical closure of spinal AVF is a widely available and reliable monitoring modality that helps to produce excellent clinical results.

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Alfredo Conti, M'Hammed Aguennouz, Domenico La Torre, Salvatore Cardali, Filippo Flavio Angileri, Catia Buemi, Chiara Tomasello, Domenico Gerardo Iacopino, Domenico D'Avella, Giuseppe Vita and Francesco Tomasello

Object. Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)—associated factors (TRAFs) are a recently established group of proteins involved in the intracellular signaling of the TNFR superfamily members. The TRAFs have been implicated in promoting cell survival through the activation of transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)—κB. The authors investigated the expression of NF-κB, caspase 3, TRAF1, TRAF2, and TRAF-associated NF-κB activator/TRAF—interacting protein (TANK/I-TRAF), a regulator of TRAF activity, in human gliomas.

Methods. Tumor samples were obtained in 27 adult patients harboring seven low-grade gliomas, nine anaplastic astrocytomas, and 11 glioblastomas multiforme. The NF-κB activation was analyzed using the electrophoresis mobility shift assay; TRAF1, TRAF2, TANK/I-TRAF, and caspase 3 expression were studied using Western blot analysis.

Upregulated NF-κB DNA—binding activity, compared with that in normal brain tissue, was detected in all tumor samples (p = 0.002). The level of NF-κB activity showed some correlation with World Health Organization tumor grades (p = 0.01), even though variable activity levels were demonstrated in relation to tissue heterogeneity, which resulted in a substantial number of outliers in the quantitative analysis. Increased levels of TRAF1, TRAF2, and TANK/I-TRAF were expressed in astrocytomas compared with levels in normal brain tissue (p = 0.02, 0.006, and 0.01, respectively).

Conclusions. Data in this study confirm the upregulation of NF-κB in gliomas and reveal a correlation between levels of this transcription factor and tumor grade. A constitutive expression of TRAF1, TRAF2, and TANK/I-TRAF in human gliomas was documented. These proteins are involved in the intracellular signal transduction of the TNFR superfamily and in the control of NF-κB expression and its antiapoptotic activity.

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Domenico Gerardo Iacopino, Cesare Gagliardo, Antonella Giugno, Giuseppe Roberto Giammalva, Alessandro Napoli, Rosario Maugeri, Francesca Graziano, Francesca Valentino, Giuseppe Cosentino, Marco D’Amelio, Tommaso Vincenzo Bartolotta, Carlo Catalano, Brigida Fierro, Massimo Midiri and Roberto Lagalla

OBJECTIVE

Transcranial magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound surgery (tcMRgFUS) is one of the emerging noninvasive technologies for the treatment of neurological disorders such as essential tremor (ET), idiopathic asymmetrical tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease (PD), and neuropathic pain. In this clinical series the authors present the preliminary results achieved with the world’s first tcMRgFUS system integrated with a 1.5-T MRI unit.

METHODS

The authors describe the results of tcMRgFUS in a sample of patients with ET and with PD who underwent the procedure during the period from January 2015 to September 2017. A monolateral ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM) thalamic ablation was performed in both ET and PD patients. In all the tcMRgFUS treatments, a 1.5-T MRI scanner was used for both planning and monitoring the procedure.

RESULTS

During the study period, a total of 26 patients underwent tcMRgFUS thalamic ablation for different movement disorders. Among these patients, 18 were diagnosed with ET and 4 were affected by PD. All patients with PD were treated using tcMRgFUS thalamic ablation and all completed the procedure. Among the 18 patients with ET, 13 successfully underwent tcMRgFUS, 4 aborted the procedure during ultrasound delivery, and 1 did not undergo the tcMRgFUS procedure after stereotactic frame placement. Two patients with ET were not included in the results because of the short follow-up duration at the time of this study. A monolateral VIM thalamic ablation in both ET and PD patients was performed. All the enrolled patients were evaluated before the treatment and 2 days after, with a clinical control of the treatment effectiveness using the graphic items of the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin tremor rating scale. A global reevaluation was performed 3 months (17/22 patients) and 6 months (11/22 patients) after the treatment; the reevaluation consisted of clinical questionnaires, neurological tests, and video recordings of the tests. All the ET and PD treated patients who completed the procedure showed an immediate amelioration of tremor severity, with no intra- or posttreatment severe permanent side effects.

CONCLUSIONS

Although this study reports on a small number of patients with a short follow-up duration, the tcMRgFUS procedure using a 1.5-T MRI unit resulted in a safe and effective treatment option for motor symptoms in patients with ET and PD. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first clinical series in which thalamotomy was performed using tcMRgFUS integrated with a 1.5-T magnet.