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Dirk Lindner, Kathrin Schlothofer-Schumann, Bodo-Christian Kern, Omeima Marx, Andrea Müns, and Jürgen Meixensberger

OBJECTIVE

Cranioplasty is routinely performed in neurosurgery. One of its underestimated problems is the high postoperative complication rate of up to 40%. Due to the lack of good prospective studies and the small number of patients (5–20 each year) who receive alloplastic materials, decisions in favor or against a certain material are based on subjective empirical or economic reasons. The main goal of this study—the first prospective, randomized multicenter study in Germany—of custom-made titanium and hydroxyapatite (HA) implants was to compare local and systemic infections related to the implant within the first 6 months after implantation. Secondary objectives included comparing the reoperation rate, the complication rate, clinical and neurological outcomes, and health-related quality of life.

METHODS

The study included patient screening and randomization at 6 to 8 weeks before operation; pre-, intra-, and postoperative documentation until discharge; and postoperative follow-ups after 1 and 6 months. Approval for the study was obtained from the local ethics committee.

RESULTS

A total of 52 patients were included in the study. The rate of local implant–associated wound infection in the HA group was 2 of 26 (7.7%) patients and 5 of 24 (20.8%) patients in the titanium group (p = 0.407). Systemic inflammation within 6 months after operation affected none of the patients in the HA group and 4 of 24 (37.5%) patients in the titanium group (p = 0.107). In both groups, 7 patients required reoperation after the 6-month follow-up (26.9% of the HA group and 29.2% of the titanium group; not significant). Reoperation with an explantation was necessary in 3 patients in each group (11.5% of the HA group and 12.5% of the titanium group; not significant). The results demonstrated a significantly higher number of epidural hematomas in the HA group in comparison with none in the titanium group. Altogether, 46 adverse events were found in 27 patients (54%). An improvement in the neurological outcome after 6 months was experienced by 43% of the patients in the HA group and 26.3% of the patients in the titanium group (p = 0.709).

CONCLUSIONS

The study emphasizes that cranioplasty is a high-risk intervention. In comparison with titanium, HA shows benefits in terms of the infection rate and the neurological outcome, but at the same time has a higher postoperative risk for epidural hematoma. Depending on the individual conditions, both materials have their place in future cranioplasty therapies.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00923793 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Julia Löser, Julia Luthardt, Michael Rullmann, David Weise, Osama Sabri, Jürgen Meixensberger, Swen Hesse, and Dirk Winkler

OBJECTIVE

Degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra projecting to the striatum is responsible for the motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a well-established procedure to alleviate these symptoms in advanced PD. Yet the mechanism of action, especially the effects of STN-DBS on the availability of striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) as a marker of nigrostriatal nerve cell function, remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate whether 1) DAT availability changes within 1 year of STN-DBS and 2) the clinical outcome can be predicted based on preoperative DAT availability.

METHODS

Twenty-seven PD patients (mean age 62.7 ± 8.9 years; mean duration of illness 13.0 ± 4.9 years; PD subtypes: akinetic-rigid, n = 11; equivalence, n = 13; and tremor-dominant, n = 3) underwent [123I]FP-CIT SPECT preoperatively and after 1 year of STN-DBS. DAT availability as determined by the specific binding ratio (SBR) was assessed by volume of interest (VOI) analysis of the caudate nucleus and the putamen ipsilateral and contralateral to the clinically more affected side.

RESULTS

Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III scores improved significantly (mean preoperative on medication 25.6 ± 12.3, preoperative off medication 42.3 ± 15.2, postoperative on medication/off stimulation 41.4 ± 13.2, and postoperative on medication/on stimulation 16.1 ± 9.4; preoperative on medication vs postoperative on medication/on stimulation, p = 0.006), while the levodopa-equivalent daily dose was reduced (mean preoperative 957 ± 440 mg vs postoperative 313 ± 189 mg, p < 0.001). The SBR did not differ significantly before and 1 year after DBS, regardless of PD subtype. Preoperative DAT availability was not related to the change in UPDRS III score, but the change in DAT availability was significantly correlated with the change in UPDRS III score (contralateral head of the caudate VOI, p = 0.014; contralateral putamen VOI, p = 0.018).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, DAT availability did not change significantly after 1 year of STN-DBS. However, on an individual basis, the improvement in UPDRS III score was associated with an increase in DAT availability, whereas DAT availability before STN-DBS surgery did not predict the clinical outcome. Whether a subtype-specific pattern of preoperative DAT availability can become a reliable predictor of successful STN-DBS must be evaluated in larger study cohorts.

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Piotr Jachimczak, Ulrich Bogdahn, Jörg Schneider, Christian Behl, Jürgen Meixensberger, Rainer Apfel, Rüdiger Dörries, Karl-Hermann Schlingensiepen, and Wolfgang Brysch

✓ This in vitro study was aimed at restitution of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β2-mediated suppression of T-lymphocyte activation within malignant gliomas. In early-passage tumor cell cultures of two glioblastomas (HTZ-153 and HTZ-209) and one malignant astrocytoma classified as World Health Organization Grade III (HTZ-243), autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells were activated by interleukin-lα and interleukin-2 in vitro (lymphokine-actived killer cells) and tested for cytotoxic and proliferative activity. In expression studies (Western blot and Northern hybridization) of all three tumors, TGF-β could be detected at the protein and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels. A polyclonal anti-TGF-β neutralizing antibody did not enhance lymphocyte proliferation upon stimulation with tumor targets (3H-thymidine incorporation) and slightly stimulated lymphocyte cytotoxicity against autologous target cells. Preincubation of target cells for 12 hours with TGF-β2-specific phosphorothioate-anti-sense oligodeoxynucleotides (S-ODN's) did, however, enhance lymphocyte proliferation up to 2.5-fold and autologous tumor cytotoxicity up to 60%, compared to controls not treated with S-ODN's. Incubation of tumor cells with TGF-β2-specific S-ODN's resulted in decreased TGF-β-specific immunoreactivity in cultured glioma cells, in reduced TGF-β2 protein concentration (Western blot), and in a change in the expression pattern of TGF-β2 mRNA's. These observations may have implications for in vivo and in vitro activation of a cellular immune response against autologous malignant glioma cells.

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Cynthia V. Mahr, Markus Dengl, Ulf Nestler, Martin Reiss-Zimmermann, Gerrit Eichner, Matthias Preuß, and Jürgen Meixensberger

OBJECTIVE

The aim of the study was to analyze the diagnostic and predictive values of clinical tests, CSF dynamics, and intracranial pulsatility tests, compared with external lumbar drainage (ELD), for shunt response in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).

METHODS

Sixty-eight consecutive patients with suspected iNPH were prospectively evaluated. Preoperative assessment included clinical tests, overnight intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, lumbar infusion test (LIFT), and ELD for 24–72 hours. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to identify predictive parameters concerning the outcome after shunt therapy.

RESULTS

Positive response to ELD correctly predicted improvement after CSF diversion in 87.9% of the patients. A Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) value below 21 was associated with nonresponse after shunt insertion (specificity 93%, sensitivity 67%). Resistance to outflow of CSF (ROut) > 12 mm Hg/ml/min was false negative in 21% of patients. Intracranial pulsatility parameters yielded different results in various parameters (correlation coefficient between pulse amplitude and ICP, slow wave amplitude, and mean ICP) but did not correlate to outcome. In multiple linear regression analysis, a calculation of presurgical MMSE versus the value after ELD, ROut, and ICP amplitude quotient during LIFT was significantly associated with outcome (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite a multitude of invasive tests, presurgical clinical testing and response to ELD yielded the best prediction for improvement of symptoms following surgery. The complication rate of invasive testing was 5.4%. Multiple and simple linear regression analyses indicated that outcome can only be predicted by a combination of parameters, in accordance with a multifactorial pathogenesis of iNPH.