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Hong Wan, Liwei Zhang, Stephane Blanchard, Stephanie Bigou, Delphine Bohl, Chuncheng Wang and Song Liu

Object

Facial nerve injury results in facial palsy that has great impact on the psychosocial conditions of affected patients. Reconstruction of the facial nerve to restore facial symmetry and expression is still a significant surgical challenge. In this study, the authors assessed a hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis method combined with neurotrophic factor gene therapy to treat facial palsy in adult rats after facial nerve injury.

Methods

Surgery consisted of the interposition of a predegenerated nerve graft (PNG) that was anastomosed with the hypoglossal and facial nerves at each of its extremities. The hypoglossal nerve was cut approximately 50% for this anastomosis to conserve partial hypoglossal function. Before their transplantation, the PNGs were genetically engineered using lentiviral vectors to induce overexpression of the neurotrophic factor neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) to improve axonal regrowth in the reconstructed nerve pathway. Reconstruction was performed after facial nerve injury, either immediately or after a delay of 9 weeks. The rats were followed up for 4 months postoperatively, and treatment outcomes were then assessed.

Results

Compared with the functional innervation in control rats that underwent facial nerve injury without subsequent treatment, functional innervation of the paralyzed whisker pad by hypoglossal motoneurons in rats treated 4 months after nerve reconstruction was evidenced by the retrograde transport of neuronal tracers, the recording of muscle action potentials conducted by the PNG, and the recovery of facial symmetry. Although a better outcome was observed when reconstruction was performed immediately after facial nerve injury, reconstruction with NT3-treated PNGs significantly improved functional reinnervation of the paralyzed whisker pad even when implantation occurred 9 weeks posttrauma.

Conclusions

Results demonstrated that hypoglossal-facial nerve anastomosis facilitates innervation of paralyzed facial muscle via hypoglossal motoneurons without sacrificing ipsilateral hemitongue function. Neurotrophin-3 treatment through gene therapy could effectively improve such innervation, even after delayed reconstruction. These findings suggest that the combination of surgical reconstruction and NT-3 gene therapy is promising for its potential application in treating facial palsy in humans.

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Shiwei Wang, Diya Su, Jing Li, Dezhi Li, Hong Wan, Michael Schumacher and Song Liu

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors used a surgical model of end-to-side neurorrhaphy between a nerve graft and a donor tibial nerve in adult rats to investigate the optimal conditions for axonal regeneration induced by the donor nerve. They also assessed the importance of a more favorable pathway using a predegenerated nerve graft to attract regenerating axons to regrow into the graft and then directing and improving their growth toward the target in comparison with results obtained with a fresh nerve graft.

METHODS

End-to-side neurorrhaphy was performed between a nerve graft and a donor tibial nerve. The nerve graft was obtained from the left tibial nerve, which was either freshly removed or predegenerated 1 week prior to neurorrhaphy. The donor right tibial nerve was injured by epineurium removal alone, injured by epineurium removal with cross section of 20% or 50% of the total axons at the coaptation site, or left intact. The animals were followed postoperatively for a 6-week period, and outcomes were evaluated by optical microscopy and retrograde labeling to detect the regenerated primary sensory neurons located in the lumbar dorsal root ganglia and spinal motor neurons located in the lumbar spinal ventral horn.

RESULTS

At the end of the follow-up period, no regenerating axons were observed in the nerve grafts when the donor nerve was left intact, and very few axons were detected when the donor nerve was injured by epineurium removal alone. However, numerous regenerating axons appeared in the grafts when the donor nerve was axotomized, and the greatest number was achieved with a 50% cross section axotomized nerve. In the rats with a 50% cross section of the donor nerve, better nerve-like morphology of the grafts was observed, without connective adhesions. When a predegenerated nerve graft was used, more regenerating axons were attracted and elongated with a more regular shape and improved myelination.

CONCLUSIONS

Axonal regrowth into a nerve graft depends on axotomy of the donor nerve after end-to-side neurorrhaphy. More efficient attraction and an improved structure of the regenerating axons were achieved when a predegenerated nerve graft was used. Furthermore, a nerve graft may require a certain number of regenerating axons to maintain a nerve-like morphology.

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Hong Wan, Liwei Zhang, Dezhi Li, Shuyu Hao, Jie Feng, Jean Paul Oudinet, Michael Schumacher and Song Liu

Object

Hypoglossal-facial nerve neurorrhaphy is a widely used method for treating complete facial palsy. However, the classic surgical procedure using a “side”-to-end neurorrhaphy is not suitable for incomplete facial palsy (IFP), because sectioning of the facial nerve for neurorrhaphy compromises remnant axons and potential spontaneous reinnervation. For the treatment of persistent IFP, the authors investigated in rats a modified method using hypoglossal-facial nerve “side”-to-side neurorrhaphy.

Methods

An IFP model was created by crushing the facial nerve and then ligating the injury site to limit axonal regeneration. After 9 weeks, rats with IFP were submitted to hypoglossal-facial nerve “side”-to-side neurorrhaphy: The gap between the 2 nerves was bridged with a predegenerated peroneal nerve graft, which was sutured to only one-half of the hypoglossal nerve and to the remnant facial nerve through a small window created by removing the epineurium, thus preserving regenerating facial axons.

Results

Four months after repair surgery, double innervation of the target whisker pad by hypoglossal and facial motor neurons was supported by the recording of muscle action potentials and their retrograde labeling. Regenerated hypoglossal and facial motor neurons effectively participated in the reinnervation of the whisker pad, significantly improving facial symmetry without evident synkinesis, compared with rats that underwent IFP without hypoglossal-facial nerve neurorrhaphy.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that hypoglossal-facial nerve “side”-to-side neurorrhaphy with a predegenerated nerve graft can lead to rapid functional benefits for persistent IFP without compromising the remnants of facial axons, thus providing a proof-of-feasibility for further studies in humans.

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Cheng-Hong Toh, Yao-Liang Chen, Ho-Fai Wong, Kuo-Chen Wei, Shu-Hang Ng and Yung-Liang Wan

✓ Rosai—Dorfman disease (RDD) is an idiopathic proliferation of histiocytes that affects the lymph nodes. Central nervous system involvement in the absence of nodal disease is extremely rare. On neuroimaging studies, intracranial RDD appears as solitary or multiple well-circumscribed, dura-based lesions. The authors report on two cases of RDD with locally aggressive features including dural sinus invasion, which to their knowledge has never before been described.

A 60-year-old woman presented with progressive dizziness and vertigo that had lasted for 1 week. Cranial computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extraaxial homogeneous lobulated enhancing mass involving the right occipital lobe and the right cerebellar hemisphere. Invasion of the right transverse sinus was identified on a cerebral digital subtraction angiogram. A 59-year-old man with no prior medical illness experienced progressive weakness of both upper extremities and a partial complex seizure. Magnetic resonance imaging of his brain revealed a well-circumscribed enhancing mass in the left frontal lobe with extension to the right frontal lobe and invasion of the superior sagittal sinus. Both patients underwent resection of their brain masses. Pathological studies identified the disease as RDD in both patients.

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Shiwei Wang, Diya Su, Jing Li, Dezhi Li, Hong Wan, Michael Schumacher and Song Liu

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors used a surgical model of end-to-side neurorrhaphy between a nerve graft and a donor tibial nerve in adult rats to investigate the optimal conditions for axonal regeneration induced by the donor nerve. They also assessed the importance of a more favorable pathway using a predegenerated nerve graft to attract regenerating axons to regrow into the graft and then directing and improving their growth toward the target in comparison with results obtained with a fresh nerve graft.

METHODS

End-to-side neurorrhaphy was performed between a nerve graft and a donor tibial nerve. The nerve graft was obtained from the left tibial nerve, which was either freshly removed or predegenerated 1 week prior to neurorrhaphy. The donor right tibial nerve was injured by epineurium removal alone, injured by epineurium removal with cross section of 20% or 50% of the total axons at the coaptation site, or left intact. The animals were followed postoperatively for a 6-week period, and outcomes were evaluated by optical microscopy and retrograde labeling to detect the regenerated primary sensory neurons located in the lumbar dorsal root ganglia and spinal motor neurons located in the lumbar spinal ventral horn.

RESULTS

At the end of the follow-up period, no regenerating axons were observed in the nerve grafts when the donor nerve was left intact, and very few axons were detected when the donor nerve was injured by epineurium removal alone. However, numerous regenerating axons appeared in the grafts when the donor nerve was axotomized, and the greatest number was achieved with a 50% cross section axotomized nerve. In the rats with a 50% cross section of the donor nerve, better nerve-like morphology of the grafts was observed, without connective adhesions. When a predegenerated nerve graft was used, more regenerating axons were attracted and elongated with a more regular shape and improved myelination.

CONCLUSIONS

Axonal regrowth into a nerve graft depends on axotomy of the donor nerve after end-to-side neurorrhaphy. More efficient attraction and an improved structure of the regenerating axons were achieved when a predegenerated nerve graft was used. Furthermore, a nerve graft may require a certain number of regenerating axons to maintain a nerve-like morphology.