Ranjan Gupta, Justin P. Chan, Jennifer Uong, Winnie A. Palispis, David J. Wright, Sameer B. Shah, Samuel R. Ward, Thay Q. Lee and Oswald Steward
Current management of traumatic peripheral nerve injuries is variable with operative decisions based on assumptions that irreversible degeneration of the human motor endplate (MEP) follows prolonged denervation and precludes reinnervation. However, the mechanism and time course of MEP changes after human peripheral nerve injury have not been investigated. Consequently, there are no objective measures by which to determine the probability of spontaneous recovery and the optimal timing of surgical intervention. To improve guidance for such decisions, the aim of this study was to characterize morphological changes at the human MEP following traumatic nerve injury.
A prospective cohort (here analyzed retrospectively) of 18 patients with traumatic brachial plexus and axillary nerve injuries underwent biopsy of denervated muscles from the upper extremity from 3 days to 6 years after injury. Muscle specimens were processed for H & E staining and immunohistochemistry, with visualization via confocal and two-photon excitation microscopy.
Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated varying degrees of fragmentation and acetylcholine receptor dispersion in denervated muscles. Comparison of denervated muscles at different times postinjury revealed progressively increasing degeneration. Linear regression analysis of 3D reconstructions revealed significant linear decreases in MEP volume (R = −0.92, R2 = 0.85, p = 0.001) and surface area (R = −0.75, R2 = 0.56, p = 0.032) as deltoid muscle denervation time increased. Surprisingly, innervated and structurally intact MEPs persisted in denervated muscle specimens from multiple patients 6 or more months after nerve injury, including 2 patients who had presented > 3 years after nerve injury.
This study details novel and critically important data about the morphology and temporal sequence of events involved in human MEP degradation after traumatic nerve injuries. Surprisingly, human MEPs not only persisted, but also retained their structures beyond the assumed 6-month window for therapeutic surgical intervention based on previous clinical studies. Preoperative muscle biopsy in patients being considered for nerve transfer may be a useful prognostic tool to determine MEP viability in denervated muscle, with surviving MEPs also being targets for adjuvant therapy.
Shenandoah Robinson, Jesse L. Winer, Justin Berkner, Lindsay A. S. Chan, Jesse L. Denson, Jessie R. Maxwell, Yirong Yang, Laurel O. Sillerud, Robert C. Tasker, William P. Meehan III, Rebekah Mannix and Lauren L. Jantzie
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and severe morbidity for otherwise healthy full-term infants around the world. Currently, the primary treatment for infant TBI is supportive, as no targeted therapies exist to actively promote recovery. The developing infant brain, in particular, has a unique response to injury and the potential for repair, both of which vary with maturation. Targeted interventions and objective measures of therapeutic efficacy are needed in this special population. The authors hypothesized that MRI and serum biomarkers can be used to quantify outcomes following infantile TBI in a preclinical rat model and that the potential efficacy of the neuro-reparative agent erythropoietin (EPO) in promoting recovery can be tested using these biomarkers as surrogates for functional outcomes.
With institutional approval, a controlled cortical impact (CCI) was delivered to postnatal Day (P)12 rats of both sexes (76 rats). On postinjury Day (PID)1, the 49 CCI rats designated for chronic studies were randomized to EPO (3000 U/kg/dose, CCI-EPO, 24 rats) or vehicle (CCI-veh, 25 rats) administered intraperitoneally on PID1–4, 6, and 8. Acute injury (PID3) was evaluated with an immunoassay of injured cortex and serum, and chronic injury (PID13–28) was evaluated with digitized gait analyses, MRI, and serum immunoassay. The CCI-veh and CCI-EPO rats were compared with shams (49 rats) primarily using 2-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc correction.
Following CCI, there was 4.8% mortality and 55% of injured rats exhibited convulsions. Of the injured rats designated for chronic analyses, 8.1% developed leptomeningeal cyst–like lesions verified with MRI and were excluded from further study. On PID3, Western blot showed that EPO receptor expression was increased in the injured cortex (p = 0.008). These Western blots also showed elevated ipsilateral cortex calpain degradation products for αII-spectrin (αII-SDPs; p < 0.001), potassium chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2-DPs; p = 0.037), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP-DPs; p = 0.002), as well as serum GFAP (serum GFAP-DPs; p = 0.001). In injured rats multiplex electrochemiluminescence analyses on PID3 revealed elevated serum tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα p = 0.01) and chemokine (CXC) ligand 1 (CXCL1). Chronically, that is, in PID13–16 CCI-veh rats, as compared with sham rats, gait deficits were demonstrated (p = 0.033) but then were reversed (p = 0.022) with EPO treatment. Diffusion tensor MRI of the ipsilateral and contralateral cortex and white matter in PID16–23 CCI-veh rats showed widespread injury and significant abnormalities of functional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD); MD, AD, and RD improved after EPO treatment. Chronically, P13–P28 CCI-veh rats also had elevated serum CXCL1 levels, which normalized in CCI-EPO rats.
Efficient translation of emerging neuro-reparative interventions dictates the use of age-appropriate preclinical models with human clinical trial–compatible biomarkers. In the present study, the authors showed that CCI produced chronic gait deficits in P12 rats that resolved with EPO treatment and that chronic imaging and serum biomarkers correlated with this improvement.