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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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Ruth Prieto and Jose María Pascual

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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.

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Hanjin Cui, Ali Yang, Huajun Zhou, Yang Wang, Jiekun Luo, Jun Zhou, Tao Liu, Pengfei Li, Jing Zhou, En Hu, Zehui He, Wang Hu and Tao Tang

OBJECTIVE

Thrombin is a unique factor that triggers post-intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) angiogenesis by increasing hypoxia-inducible factor–1α (HIF-1α) at the protein level. However, HIF-1α mRNA remains unchanged. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate posttranscriptional regulation by suppressing protein translation from mRNAs. This study aimed to determine if miRNAs might be involved in thrombin-induced angiogenesis after ICH by targeting HIF-1α or its upstream prolyl hydroxylase domains (PHDs).

METHODS

The study was divided into two parts. In part 1, rats received an injection of thrombin into the right globus pallidus. An miRNA array combined with miRNA target prediction, luciferase activity assay, and miRNA mimic/inhibitor transfection were used to identify candidate miRNAs and target genes. Part 2 included experiments 1 and 2. In experiment 1, rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, and ICH+hirudin–treated (thrombin inhibitor) group. In experiment 2, the rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, ICH+antagomir group, ICH+antagomir-control group, and ICH+vehicle group. Western blotting and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to determine the expression of protein and miRNA, respectively. The coexpression of miR-24–1-5p (abbreviated to miR-24) and von Willebrand factor was detected by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis. The angiogenesis was evaluated by double-labeling immunofluorescence. Neurological function was evaluated by body weight, modified Neurological Severity Scores, and corner turn and foot-fault tests.

RESULTS

In part 1, it was shown that miR-24, which is predicted to target PHD1, was upregulated (fold-change of 1.83) after thrombin infusion, and that the miR-24 mimic transfection decreased luciferase activity and downregulated PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). miR-24 inhibitor transfection increased PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). In part 2, it was shown that miR-24 was expressed in endothelial cells. The HIF-1α protein level and proliferating cell nuclear antigen–positive (PCNA+) nuclei in vessels were increased, while the PHD1 protein level was decreased after ICH, and these effects were reversed by hirudin (p < 0.05). The antagomiR-24–treated rats exhibited a markedly lower body weight and significantly poorer recovery from neurological deficit compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05). AntagomiR-24 intervention also led to lower miR-24 expression, a higher PHD1 protein level, and fewer PCNA+ nuclei in vessels compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The present study suggests that thrombin reduces HIF-1α degradation and initiates angiogenesis by increasing miR-24, which targets PHD1 after ICH.

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Yi-Da Tsai, Sung-Hua Chiu, Yuan-Hung Lo, Po-Kuang Yeh, Yuan-Wei Lai, Yi-Ling Tsai and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Hua-Jun Zhou, Tao Tang, Han-Jin Cui, A-Li Yang, Jie-Kun Luo, Yuan Lin, Qi-Dong Yang and Xing-Qun Li

Object

Angiogenesis occurs after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Thrombin mediates mitogenesis and survival in endothelial cells and induces angiogenesis. The present study aimed to clarify whether thrombin is involved in triggering ICH-related angiogenesis.

Methods

In the first part of the experiment, autologous blood (with or without hirudin) was injected to induce ICH. In the second part, rats received either 1 U (50 μl) thrombin or 50 μl 0.9% sterile saline. In both parts, 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered intraperitoneally. Brains were perfused to identify BrdU-positive/von Willebrand factor (vWF)–positive nuclei. The expression of hypoxia-inducible factor–1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and Ang-2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Results

After ICH, the number of BrdU-/vWF-positive nuclei increased until Day 14, and vessels positive for HIF-1α, VEGF, Ang-1, and Ang-2 were observed around the clot. Quantitative analysis showed that ICH upregulated expression of HIF-1α, VEGF, Ang-1, and Ang-2 notably compared with that in sham controls (p < 0.05). However, hirudin significantly inhibited these effects. After thrombin treatment, many BrdU-positive/vWF-positive nuclei and HIF-1α–, VEGF-, Ang-1– and Ang-2–positive vessels could be detected around the affected region.

Conclusions

Thrombin can induce angiogenesis in rat brains and may be an important trigger for ICH-related angiogenesis.

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Jing Wang, Tiansi Tang, Huilin Yang, Xiaoshen Yao, Liang Chen, Wei Liu and Tao Li

Object

The nucleus pulposus has been reported to be an immunologically privileged site. The expression of Fas ligand (FasL) on normal and herniated lumbar disc cells has been reported. The relationship between a physiological barrier and the role of FasL has not yet been addressed. To clarify this relationship and to investigate a possible pathogenesis of intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD), the expression of Fas and FasL (a mean apoptosis index) on normal and stabbed-disc cells was examined in a rabbit model of IDD.

Methods

Using defined needle gauges and depths, the anular puncture model of IDD was established in rabbits. The normal and stabbed discs were harvested at 3, 6, and 10 weeks after surgery. Immunohistochemical staining of these discs for Fas and FasL was performed using standard procedures. The mean apoptosis indices of the disc cells were determined using flow cytometry analysis.

The nucleus pulposus cells from the normal discs exhibited relatively weak immunopositivity, whereas the nucleus pulposus cells from the stabbed discs exhibited strong immunopositivity. There was a significant difference (p < 0.001) in the percentage of FasL-positive nucleus pulposus cells between the normal discs and the stabbed discs. The mean apoptosis indices of the stabbed-disc cells at 3, 6, and 10 weeks poststab were significantly higher than those in normal disc cells (p < 0.001, 0.002, and 0.006, respectively). There was a significant correlation between the degree of FasL-positive expression and the degree of Fas-positive expression of the nucleus pulposus cells poststab (r = 0.571, p = 0.0036).

Conclusions

These observations indicate that the nucleus pulposus is an immunologically privileged site. This immunological privilege is maintained by FasL and the physiological barrier together. When the physiological barrier was damaged (by stabbing the disc), the role of FasL changed, and FasL was coexpressed with Fas to induce apoptosis of disc cells. These results indicate that an autoimmune reaction may be a possible pathogenesis of IDD.

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Jian-Hua Zhong, Hua-Jun Zhou, Tao Tang, Han-Jin Cui, A-Li Yang, Qi-Mei Zhang, Jing-Hua Zhou, Qiang Zhang, Xun Gong, Zhao-Hui Zhang and Zhi-Gang Mei

OBJECTIVE

Reactive astrogliosis, a key feature that is characterized by glial proliferation, has been observed in rat brains after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). However, the mechanisms that control reactive astrogliosis formation remain unknown. Notch-1 signaling plays a critical role in modulating reactive astrogliosis. The purpose of this paper was to establish whether Notch-1 signaling is involved in reactive astrogliosis after ICH.

METHODS

ICH was induced in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats via stereotactic injection of autologous blood into the right globus pallidus. N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT) was injected into the lateral ventricle to block Notch-1 signaling. The rats’ brains were perfused to identify proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive/GFAP-positive nuclei. The expression of GFAP, Notch-1, and the activated form of Notch-1 (Notch intracellular domain [NICD]) and its ligand Jagged-1 was assessed using immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses, respectively.

RESULTS

Notch-1 signaling was upregulated and activated after ICH as confirmed by an increase in the expression of Notch-1 and NICD and its ligand Jagged-1. Remarkably, blockade of Notch-1 signaling with the specific inhibitor DAPT suppressed astrocytic proliferation and GFAP levels caused by ICH. In addition, DAPT improved neurological outcome after ICH.

CONCLUSIONS

Notch-1 signaling is a critical regulator of ICH-induced reactive astrogliosis, and its blockage may be a potential therapeutic strategy for hemorrhagic injury.

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Qiang Tan, Qianwei Chen, Yin Niu, Zhou Feng, Lin Li, Yihao Tao, Jun Tang, Liming Yang, Jing Guo, Hua Feng, Gang Zhu and Zhi Chen

OBJECTIVE

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is associated with a high rate of mortality and severe disability, while fibrinolysis for ICH evacuation is a possible treatment. However, reported adverse effects can counteract the benefits of fibrinolysis and limit the use of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). Identifying appropriate fibrinolytics is still needed. Therefore, the authors here compared the use of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), an alternate thrombolytic, with that of tPA in a preclinical study.

METHODS

Intracerebral hemorrhage was induced in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats by injecting autologous blood into the caudate, followed by intraclot fibrinolysis without drainage. Rats were randomized to receive uPA, tPA, or saline within the clot. Hematoma and perihematomal edema, brain water content, Evans blue fluorescence and neurological scores, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP mRNA, blood-brain barrier (BBB) tight junction proteins, and nuclear factor–κB (NF-κB) activation were measured to evaluate the effects of these 2 drugs in ICH.

RESULTS

In comparison with tPA, uPA better ameliorated brain edema and promoted an improved outcome after ICH. In addition, uPA therapy more effectively upregulated BBB tight junction protein expression, which was partly attributed to the different effects of uPA and tPA on the regulation of MMPs and its related mRNA expression following ICH.

CONCLUSIONS

This study provided evidence supporting the use of uPA for fibrinolytic therapy after ICH. Large animal experiments and clinical trials are required to further explore the efficacy and safety of uPA in ICH fibrinolysis.