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Junko Kawabe, Masao Koda, Masayuki Hashimoto, Takayuki Fujiyoshi, Takeo Furuya, Tomonori Endo, Akihiko Okawa, and Masashi Yamazaki

Object

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has neuroprotective effects on the CNS. The authors have previously demonstrated that G-CSF also exerts neuroprotective effects in experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) by enhancing migration of bone marrow–derived cells into the damaged spinal cord, increasing glial differentiation of bone marrow–derived cells, enhancing antiapoptotic effects on both neurons and oligodendrocytes, and by reducing demyelination and expression of inflammatory cytokines. Because the degree of angiogenesis in the subacute phase after SCI correlates with regenerative responses, it is possible that G-CSF's neuroprotective effects after SCI are due to enhancement of angiogenesis. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of G-CSF on the vascular system after SCI.

Methods

A contusive SCI rat model was used and the animals were randomly allocated to either a G-CSF–treated group or a control group. Integrity of the blood–spinal cord barrier was evaluated by measuring the degree of edema in the cord and the volume of extravasation. For histological evaluation, cryosections were immunostained with anti–von Willebrand factor and the number of vessels was counted to assess revascularization. Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed to assess expression of angiogenic cytokines, and recovery of motor function was assessed with function tests.

Results

In the G-CSF–treated rats, the total number of vessels with a diameter > 20 μm was significantly larger and expression of angiogenic cytokines was significantly higher than those in the control group. The G-CSF–treated group showed significantly greater recovery of hindlimb function than the control group.

Conclusions

These results suggest that G-CSF exerts neuroprotective effects via promotion of angiogenesis after SCI.

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Satoshi Maki, Masaaki Aramomi, Yusuke Matsuura, Takeo Furuya, Mitsutoshi Ota, Yasushi Iijima, Junya Saito, Takane Suzuki, Chikato Mannoji, Kazuhisa Takahashi, Masashi Yamazaki, and Masao Koda

OBJECTIVE

Fusion surgery with instrumentation is a widely accepted treatment for cervical spine pathologies. The authors propose a novel technique for subaxial cervical fusion surgery using paravertebral foramen screws (PVFS). The authors consider that PVFS have equal or greater biomechanical strength than lateral mass screws (LMS). The authors’ goals of this study were to conduct a biomechanical study of PVFS, to investigate the suitability of PVFS as salvage fixation for failed LMS, and to describe this novel technique.

METHODS

The authors harvested 24 human cervical spine vertebrae (C3–6) from 6 fresh-frozen cadaver specimens from donors whose mean age was 84.3 ± 10.4 years at death. For each vertebra, one side was chosen randomly for PVFS and the other for LMS. For PVFS, a 3.2-mm drill with a stopper was advanced under lateral fluoroscopic imaging. The drill stopper was set to 12 mm, which was considered sufficiently short not to breach the transverse foramen. The drill was directed from 20° to 25° medially so that the screw could purchase the relatively hard cancellous bone around the entry zone of the pedicle. The hole was tapped and a 4.5-mm-diameter × 12-mm screw was inserted. For LMS, 3.5-mm-diameter × 14-mm screws were inserted into the lateral mass of C3–6. The pullout strength of each screw was measured. After pullout testing of LMS, a drill was inserted into the screw hole and the superior cortex of the lateral mass was pried to cause a fracture through the screw hole, simulating intraoperative fracture of the lateral mass. After the procedure, PVFS for salvage (sPVFS) were inserted on the same side and pullout strength was measured.

RESULTS

The CT scans obtained after screw insertion revealed no sign of pedicle breaching, violation of the transverse foramen, or fracture of the lateral mass. A total of 69 screws were tested (23 PVFS, 23 LMS, and 23 sPVFS). One vertebra was not used because of a fracture that occurred while the specimen was prepared. The mean bone mineral density of the specimens was 0.29 ± 0.10 g/cm3. The mean pullout strength was 234 ± 114 N for PVFS, 158 ± 91 N for LMS, and 195 ± 125 N for sPVFS. The pullout strength for PVFS tended to be greater than that for LMS. However, the difference was not quite significant (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors introduce a novel fixation technique for the subaxial cervical spine. This study suggests that PVFS tend to provide stronger fixation than LMS for initial applications and fixation equal to LMS for salvage applications. If placement of LMS fails, PVFS can serve as a salvage fixation technique.

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Yawara Eguchi, Masaki Norimoto, Munetaka Suzuki, Ryota Haga, Hajime Yamanaka, Hiroshi Tamai, Tatsuya Kobayashi, Sumihisa Orita, Miyako Suzuki, Kazuhide Inage, Hirohito Kanamoto, Koki Abe, Tomotaka Umimura, Takashi Sato, Yasuchika Aoki, Atsuya Watanabe, Masao Koda, Takeo Furuya, Junichi Nakamura, Tsutomu Akazawa, Kazuhisa Takahashi, and Seiji Ohtori

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between vertebral bodies, psoas major morphology, and the course of lumbar nerve tracts using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) before lateral interbody fusion (LIF) to treat spinal deformities.

METHODS

DTI findings in a group of 12 patients (all women, mean age 74.3 years) with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) were compared with those obtained in a matched control group of 10 patients (all women, mean age 69.8 years) with low-back pain but without scoliosis. A T2-weighted sagittal view was fused to tractography from L3 to L5 and separated into 6 zones (zone A, zones 1–4, and zone P) comprising equal quarters of the anteroposterior diameters, and anterior and posterior to the vertebral body, to determine the distribution of nerves at various intervertebral levels (L3–4, L4–5, and L5–S1). To determine psoas morphology, the authors examined images for a rising psoas sign at the level of L4–5, and the ratio of the anteroposterior diameter (AP) to the lateral diameter (lat), or AP/lat ratio, was calculated. They assessed the relationship between apical vertebrae, psoas major morphology, and the course of nerve tracts.

RESULTS

Although only 30% of patients in the control group showed a rising psoas sign, it was present in 100% of those in the DLS group. The psoas major was significantly extended on the concave side (AP/lat ratio: 2.1 concave side, 1.2 convex side). In 75% of patients in the DLS group, the apex of the curve was at L2 or higher (upper apex) and the psoas major was extended on the concave side. In the remaining 25%, the apex was at L3 or lower (lower apex) and the psoas major was extended on the convex side. Significant anterior shifts of lumbar nerves compared with controls were noted at each intervertebral level in patients with DLS. Nerves on the extended side of the psoas major were significantly shifted anteriorly. Nerve pathways on the convex side of the scoliotic curve were shifted posteriorly.

CONCLUSIONS

A significant anterior shift of lumbar nerves was noted at all intervertebral levels in patients with DLS in comparison with findings in controls. On the convex side, the nerves showed a posterior shift. In LIF, a convex approach is relatively safer than an approach from the concave side. Lumbar nerve course tracking with DTI is useful for assessing patients with DLS before LIF.

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Takaki Inoue, Satoshi Maki, Toshitaka Yoshii, Takeo Furuya, Satoru Egawa, Kenichiro Sakai, Kazuo Kusano, Yukihiro Nakagawa, Takashi Hirai, Kanichiro Wada, Keiichi Katsumi, Kengo Fujii, Atsushi Kimura, Narihito Nagoshi, Tsukasa Kanchiku, Yukitaka Nagamoto, Yasushi Oshima, Kei Ando, Masahiko Takahata, Kanji Mori, Hideaki Nakajima, Kazuma Murata, Shunji Matsunaga, Takashi Kaito, Kei Yamada, Sho Kobayashi, Satoshi Kato, Tetsuro Ohba, Satoshi Inami, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Hiroyuki Katoh, Haruo Kanno, Shiro Imagama, Masao Koda, Yoshiharu Kawaguchi, Katsushi Takeshita, Morio Matsumoto, Seiji Ohtori, Masashi Yamazaki, Atsushi Okawa, and

OBJECTIVE

It is unclear whether anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ADF) or laminoplasty (LMP) results in better outcomes for patients with K-line–positive (+) cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). The purpose of the study is to compare surgical outcomes and complications of ADF versus LMP in patients with K-line (+) OPLL.

METHODS

The study included 478 patients enrolled in the Japanese Multicenter Research Organization for Ossification of the Spinal Ligament and who underwent surgical treatment for cervical OPLL. The patients who underwent anterior-posterior combined surgery or posterior decompression with instrumented fusion were excluded. The patients with a follow-up period of fewer than 2 years were also excluded, leaving 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Propensity score matching was performed on 198 patients with K-line (+) OPLL who underwent ADF (44 patients) or LMP (154 patients), resulting in 39 pairs of patients based on the following predictors for surgical outcomes: age, preoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, C2–7 angle, and the occupying ratio of OPLL. Clinical outcomes were assessed 1 and 2 years after surgery using the recovery rate of the JOA score. Complications and reoperation rates were also investigated.

RESULTS

The mean recovery rate of the JOA score 1 year after surgery was 55.3% for patients who underwent ADF and 42.3% (p = 0.06) for patients who underwent LMP. Two years after surgery, the recovery rate was 53.4% for those who underwent ADF and 38.7% for LMP (p = 0.07). Although both surgical procedures yielded good results, the mean recovery rate of JOA scores tended to be higher in the ADF group. The incidence of surgical complications, however, was higher following ADF (33%) than LMP (15%; p = 0.06). The reoperation rate was also higher in the ADF group (15%) than in the LMP group (0%; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical outcomes were good for both ADF and LMP, indicating that ADF and LMP are appropriate procedures for patients with K-line (+) OPLL. Clinical outcomes of ADF 1 and 2 years after surgery tended to be better than LMP, but the analysis did not detect any significant difference in clinical outcomes between the groups. Conversely, patients who underwent ADF had a higher incidence of surgery-related complications. When considering indications for ADF or LMP, benefits and risks of the surgical procedures should be carefully weighed.