Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Mantha Pantazi, Georgios D. Lianos, George Stranjalis and George A. Alexiou
Congenital hydrocephalus (CH) is one of the most frequent CNS congenital malformations, representing an entity with serious pathological consequences. Although several studies have previously assessed child-related risk factors associated with CH development, there is a gap of knowledge on maternal environmental risk factors related to CH. The authors have systematically assessed extrinsic factors in the maternal environment that potentially confer an increased risk of CH development.
The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were systematically searched for works published between 1966 and December 2015 to identify all relevant articles published in English. Only studies that investigated environmental risk factors concerning the mother—either during gestation or pregestationally—were included.
In total, 13 studies (5 cohorts, 3 case series, 3 case-control studies, 1 meta-analysis, and 1 case report) meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. Maternal medication or alcohol use during gestation; lifestyle modifiable maternal pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, or hypertension; lack of prenatal care; and a low socioeconomic status were identified as significant maternal environmental risk factors for CH development. Maternal infections and trauma to the mother during pregnancy have also been highlighted as potential mother-related risk factors for CH.
Congenital hydrocephalus is an important cause of serious infant health disability that can lead to health inequalities among adults. The present study identified several maternal environmental risk factors for CH, thus yielding important scientific information relevant to prevention of some CH cases. However, further research is warranted to confirm the impact of the identified factors and examine their underlying behavioral and/or biological basis, leading to the generation of suitable prevention strategies.
Sameer Agnihotri, Isabel Gugel, Marc Remke, Antje Bornemann, Georgios Pantazis, Stephen C. Mack, David Shih, Sanjay K. Singh, Nesrin Sabha, Michael D. Taylor, Marcos Tatagiba, Gelareh Zadeh and Boris Krischek
Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are common benign tumors of the vestibular nerve that cause significant morbidity. The current treatment strategies for VS include surgery or radiation, with each treatment option having associated complications and side effects. The transcriptional landscape of schwannoma remains largely unknown.
In this study the authors performed gene-expression profiling of 49 schwannomas and 7 normal control vestibular nerves to identify tumor-specific gene-expression patterns. They also interrogated whether schwannomas comprise several molecular subtypes using several transcription-based clustering strategies. The authors also performed in vitro experiments testing therapeutic inhibitors of over-activated pathways in a schwannoma cell line, namely the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.
The authors identified over 4000 differentially expressed genes between controls and schwannomas with network analysis, uncovering proliferation and anti-apoptotic pathways previously not implicated in VS. Furthermore, using several distinct clustering technologies, they could not reproducibly identify distinct VS subtypes or significant differences between sporadic and germline NF2–associated schwannomas, suggesting that they are highly similar entities. The authors identified overexpression of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling networks in their geneexpression study and evaluated this pathway for therapeutic targeting. Testing the compounds BEZ235 and PKI-587, both novel dual inhibitors of PI3K and mTOR, attenuated tumor growth in a preclinical cell line model of schwannoma (HEI-293). In vitro findings demonstrated that pharmacological inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway with next-generation compounds led to decreased cell viability and increased cell death.
These findings implicate aberrant activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway as a molecular mechanism of pathogenesis in VS and suggest inhibition of this pathway as a potential treatment strategy.
Pier Paolo Peruzzi and Russell R. Lonser