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Tao Hong, Yang Wang, Hai-tao Wang and Huan Wang

Object

The gap junction is important in the propagation of dilation/constriction signals along vessels for coordinated behavior in control of vascular tone. The authors hypothesized that gap junctions might play a role in cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The aims of the present study were to investigate the role of gap junctions and to observe the potential therapeutic efficacy of gap junction blockers in cerebral vasospasm in vitro and in vivo.

Methods

For the in vitro investigation, the effect of heptanol on the oxyhemoglobin (HbO2)-induced contraction of isolated rabbit basilar arteries (BAs) was observed by using an isometric tension-recording method. For the in vivo experiments, the potential therapeutic efficacy of heptanol and carbenoxolone was surveyed after it was given intravenously in the rabbit double-hemorrhage model. Light microscopy was performed to assess the morphological changes in the arteries examined.

Results

For the in vitro method, heptanol significantly inhibited the sustained contraction induced both by HbO2 and K+ in the BA rings. The magnitude of the heptanol-induced relaxation was dose dependent. The inhibitory effect of heptanol on the K+-induced vasoconstriction was weaker than that on the HbO2-induced constriction. After arterial rings were pretreated for 10 minutes, heptanol significantly decreased their responses to the HbO2-induced contraction. For the in vivo method, heptanol and carbenoxolone significantly decreased the narrowing of BAs when given intravenously in the rabbit double-hemorrhage model. In both treated groups, the diameters of the arteries had not changed significantly on Day 7 compared with those of the arteries in the SAH + vehicle and the SAH-only group.

Conclusions

Heptanol and carbenoxolone significantly inhibited the experimental cerebral vasospasm both in vitro and in vivo. Blockage of gap junctions is a probable candidate for a new approach in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. Gap junctions may play a pathophysiological role in cerebral vasospasm.

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Limin Xiao, Shenhao Xie, Bin Tang, Jialing Hu and Tao Hong

Advances in endoscopic technique allow for resection of the anterior clinoid process (ACP) via an endoscopic endonasal approach. The authors discuss the endoscopic endonasal anterior clinoidectomy (EEAC) and demonstrate the relevant surgical anatomy and technical nuances. The approach was simulated in 6 cadaveric heads. From a technical point of view, the lateral optic carotid recess was used as the landmark in the proposed technique. The superomedial, superolateral, and inferior vertices of this recess are the main operative points. The EEAC approach was achieved by disconnecting the ACP tip from the base by drilling the 3 vertices. The proposed approach was successfully performed in all cadaveric specimens. Then, in a case series involving 6 patients in whom the EEAC approach was used, there were no vascular injuries; 2 patients had postoperative oculomotor nerve palsy, which improved in one and resolved in the other by 1 month.

The EEAC approach for tumors and vascular lesions in the parasellar region is technically feasible. The surgical corridor is increased by ACP resection, although to a lesser extent than the transcranial anterior clinoidectomy. Based on the authors’ initial anatomical and surgical results, resection of the ACP via the endonasal endoscopic approach is a novel technique worth exploring in suitable cases.

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Lei Liu, Tao Sui, Xin Hong, Xiaotao Wu and Xiaojian Cao

Object

The authors conducted a study to evaluate the effects and the safety of locally applied mitomycin C (MMC) on epidural fibrosis after microendoscopic discectomy (MED).

Methods

Seventy-five patients undergoing single-level unilateral MED for lumbar disc herniation were randomly assigned to receive cotton wool impregnated with either 0.5 mg/ml MMC or saline applied at the site of discectomy for 5 minutes. Outcome measures included degrees of pain severity, functional disability, physical symptoms, and quantitative evaluation of postoperative epidural fibrosis shown on follow-up lumbar contrast-enhanced MRI.

Results

Sixty-two patients completed the follow-up. Neither serious drug adverse effects nor clinically significant laboratory adverse effects were observed. Patients in both groups showed similar clinical recoveries postoperatively. A statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the 2 treatments was shown in a quantitative evaluation of postoperative MRI-documented epidural fibrosis in the MMC group and the saline group using a modified grading system. The mean cross-sectional areas of epidural fibrosis were 7.32–70.06 mm2 in the MMC group and 22.94–90.48 mm2 in the saline group. The epidural fibrosis index ranged from 0.0296 to 0.3267 in the MMC group and from 0.1191 to 0.3483 in the saline group. A significant difference was also observed using the Ross grading system to evaluate postoperative MR images.

Conclusions

Although no benefit was observed clinically, the authors observed a notable reduction of epidural fibrosis after MED radiologically, with 0.5 mg/ml MMC locally applied and no clinical side effects. Clinical trial registration no.: ChiCTR-TRC-10001079 (http://www.chictr.org/cn/proj/show.aspx?proj=326).

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Jian Ren, Tao Hong, Chuan He, Xiaoyu Li, Yongjie Ma, Jiaxing Yu, Feng Ling and Hongqi Zhang

OBJECTIVE

Optimal surgical strategies for intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations (ISCCMs) are not optimized and remain problematic. In this study the authors identify rational surgical strategies for ISCCMs and predictors of outcomes after resection.

METHODS

A single-center study was performed with 219 consecutive surgically treated patients who presented from 2002 to 2017 and were analyzed retrospectively. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale was used to evaluate neurological functions. Patient characteristics, surgical approaches, and immediate and long-term postoperative outcomes were identified.

RESULTS

The average ISCCM size was 10.5 mm. The spinal level affected was cervical in 24.8% of patients, thoracic in 73.4%, and lumbar in 1.8%. The locations of the lesions in the horizontal plane were 30.4% ventral, 41.6% dorsal, and 28.0% central. Of the 214 patients included in the cohort for operative evaluation, 62.6% had superficially located lesions, while 37.4% were embedded. Gross-total resection was achieved in 98.1% of patients. The immediate postoperative neurological condition worsened in 10.3% of the patients. Multivariate logistic regression identified mild preoperative function (p = 0.014, odds ratio [OR] 4.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–14.8) and thoracolumbar-level lesions (p = 0.01, OR 15.7, 95% CI 1.9–130.2) as independent predictors of worsening. The mean follow-up duration in 187 patients was 45.9 months. Of these patients, 63.1% were stable, 33.2% improved, and 3.7% worsened. Favorable outcomes were observed in 86.1% of patients during long-term follow-up and were significantly associated with preoperative mild neurological and disability status (p = 0.000) and cervically located lesions (p = 0.009). The depths of the lesions were associated with worse long-term outcomes (p = 0.001), and performing myelotomy directly through a yellowish abnormal surface in moderate-depth lesions was an independent predictor of worsening (p = 0.023, OR 35.3, 95% CI 1.6–756.3).

CONCLUSIONS

Resection performed with an individualized surgical approach remains the primary therapeutic option in ISCCMs. Performing surgery in patients with mild symptoms at the thoracolumbar level and embedded located lesions requires more discretion.

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Hui-Ren Tao, Tian-Li Yang, Michael S. Chang, Huan Li, Da-Wei Zhang, Hong-Bin Fan, Chao Shen and Zhuo-Jing Luo

Tethered cord is a common finding in congenital scoliosis. The most frequently advocated approach for this condition is to perform prophylactic detethering of the cord before scoliosis corrective surgery. The authors report on a 14-year-old patient with congenital thoracic kyphoscoliosis associated with a tethered cord, who developed progressive paraparesis and was successfully treated by posterior spine shortening osteotomy alone without prophylactic untethering. The patient had a 103° scoliotic curve together with a 93° kyphotic curve with an apical vertebra of T-7. Furthermore, he developed a significant progression of neurological deficits, including weakness of both legs and urinary and bowel incontinence. Preoperative MRI revealed that the spinal cord was entrapped by the apical vertebra and the low-placed conus medullaris was at approximately L-5. A posterior vertebral column resection of T-7 was performed for the purpose of simultaneously correcting the kyphoscoliosis and releasing tension on the tethered cord without a true detethering surgery. The patient's spinal cord function recovered completely from Frankel D to Frankel E by 6 months after the procedure. Evaluation at 31 months after surgery showed maintenance of good curve correction and normal neurological function.

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Jian-tao Liang, Yu-hai Bao, Hong-qi Zhang, Li-rong Huo, Zhen-yu Wang and Feng Ling

Object

The authors conducted a study to assess the clinical pattern, radiological features, therapeutic strategies, and long-term outcomes in patients with intramedullary spinal cord cavernomas (ISCCs) based on a large case series.

Methods

This retrospective study identified 96 patients (60 males, 36 females) surgically (81 cases) or conservatively (15 cases) treated for ISCCs between May 1993 and November 2007. Each diagnosis was based on MR imaging and spinal angiography evidence. For all surgically treated patients, the diagnosis was verified pathologically. The neurological outcomes pre- and postoperatively, as well as long-term follow-up, were assessed using the Aminoff-Logue Disability Scale.

Results

The mean age at the onset of symptoms was 34.5 years (range 9–80 years). Of the lesions, 68 (71%) were located in the thoracic spine, 25 (26%) in the cervical spine, and only 3 (3%) in the lumbar spine. The median symptom duration was 19.7 months. The clinical behavior of the lesion was a slow progression in 73 cases and an acute decline in 23 cases. Long-term follow-up data (mean 45.8 months, range 10–183 months) were available for 75 patients (64 surgical cases and 11 conservative cases). In the surgical group, a complete resection was achieved in 60 patients, and incomplete resection was detected in 4 patients after operation. At the end of the follow-up period in the operative group, 23 patients (36%) improved, 35 (55%) remained unchanged, and 6 (9%) worsened. In the nonoperative group, 5 patients improved, 6 patients remained unchanged, and none worsened.

Conclusions

For differential diagnosis, spinal angiography was necessary in some cases. For most symptomatic lesions, complete microsurgical resection of the symptomatic ISCC is safe and prevents rebleeding and further neurological deterioration. However, in patients whose lesions were small and located ventrally in the spinal cord, one can also opt for a rigorous follow-up, considering the high surgical risk.

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Peng Xu, Wei-Ming Gong, Yao Li, Tao Zhang, Kai Zhang, De-Zhen Yin and Tang-Hong Jia

Object

Chronic mechanical compression of the spinal cord, which is commonly caused by degeneration of the spine, impairs motor and sensory functions insidiously and progressively. Yet the exact mechanisms of chronic spinal cord compression (SCC) remain to be elucidated. To study the pathophysiology of this condition, the authors developed a simple animal experimental model that reproduced the clinical course of mechanical compression of the spinal cord.

Methods

A custom-designed compression device was implanted on the exposed spinal cord of female Wistar rats between the T-7 and T-9 vertebrae. A root canal screw attached to a plastic plate was tightened 1 complete turn (1 pitch) every 7 days for 6 weeks. The placement of the compression device and the degree of compression were validated every week using radiography. Furthermore, a motor sensory deficit index was also calculated every week. After 3, 6, 9, or 12 weeks, the compressed T7–9 spinal cords were harvested and examined histologically.

Results

Lateral projection of the thoracic spine showed a progressively increasing rate of mean spinal cord narrowing in the compression group. Motor and sensory deficiencies were observed from Week 3 onward; paralysis was observed in 2 rats at Week 12. Motor deficiency appeared earlier than sensory deficiency. Obvious pathological changes were observed starting at Week 6. The number of neurons in the gray matter of rats with chronic compression of the spinal cord decreased progressively in the 6- and 9-week compression groups. In the white matter, myelin destruction and loss of axons and glia were noted. The number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling (TUNEL)–positive neurons increased in the ventral-to-dorsal direction. The number of TUNEL-positive cells increased from Week 6 onward and peaked at Week 9.

Conclusions

This practical model accurately reproduces characteristic features of clinical chronic SCC, including progressive motor and sensory disturbances after a latency and insidious neuronal loss.

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Bin Tang, ShenHao Xie, GuanLin Huang, ZhiGang Wang, Le Yang, XuanYong Yang, Shan Xu, ErMing Zeng and Tao Hong

OBJECTIVE

Transinfundibular craniopharyngioma (TC) is one of the 4 subtypes of suprasellar craniopharyngioma. In this study, the authors analyzed the clinical features of and operative technique for TC.

METHODS

A total of 95 consecutive cases of suprasellar craniopharyngioma that had been resected via the endoscopic expanded endonasal approach were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into 2 groups: 34 in the TC group and 61 in the nontransinfundibular craniopharyngioma (NC) group. Clinical and radiographic features, intraoperative findings, histopathological and genetic findings, and surgical outcomes were analyzed and compared between groups.

RESULTS

Compared with NC, TC was mostly seen in adult patients (97.1%); it was rare in children (2.9%). Clinical presentations tended toward headache, hydrocephalus, and diabetes insipidus. The relatively smaller volume, midline location (consistent with the stalk position), unidentifiable stalk, no shift of the third ventricle, and greater likelihood to involve the third ventricle and cause hydrocephalus were the characteristic features of TC in the preoperative MRI study. According to the degree of vertical extension of the tumor, the 34 TCs could be classified into 3 subtypes: type 1, entity was limited to stalk (n = 2, 5.9%); type 2, tumor extended up to the third ventricle (type 2a) or down to the subdiaphragmatic cavity (type 2b) (n = 23, 67.6%); and type 3, tumor extended in both directions (n = 9, 26.5%). For TC resection, the chiasm–pituitary corridor, lamina terminalis corridor, and pituitary corridor could be used separately or jointly. Most of the TCs originated from the infundibulum–tuber cinereum, grew within and along the long axis of the infundibulum, and the pituitary stalk was not usually preserved in TCs (20.6%), whereas the rate of preservation was higher (80.3%) in NCs. Bilateral hypothalamic injury was found in nearly all TCs if radical resection was performed, whereas the relationship between NCs and hypothalamus was either compression (32.8%) or unilateral invasion (67.2%). Meanwhile, the postoperative endocrine and neuropsychological function outcomes in patients with TC were worse than in patients with NC. The genetic analysis with whole-exome sequencing studies showed no differential mutations of CTNNB1 (β-catenin) and BRAF (V600E) between TC and NC subtypes, but there was a difference between adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma and papillary craniopharyngioma.

CONCLUSIONS

TC is a special subtype of suprasellar craniopharyngioma, which is remarkably different from NC. Identification of this type of tumor preoperatively is essential for the planning of appropriate surgical approach and degree of excision.