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Theodosis Kalamatianos, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Christos Koutsarnakis, Christina Psachoulia, Damianos E. Sakas, and George Stranjalis

Object

A considerable body of evidence indicates that inflammation and angiogenesis play a significant role in the development and progression of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). While various experimental and clinical studies have implicated placental growth factor (PlGF) in the processes that underpin pathological angiogenesis, no study has thus far investigated its expression in CSDH. The actions of PlGF and its related proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are antagonized by a high-affinity soluble receptor, namely soluble VEGF receptor–1 (sVEGFR-1), and thus the ratio between sVEGFR-1 and angiogenic factors provides an index of angiogenic capacity.

Methods

In the present study, using an automated electrochemiluminescence assay, levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were quantified in serum and hematoma fluid obtained in 16 patients with CSDH.

Results

Levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were significantly higher in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001). In serum, levels of sVEGFR-1 were higher than those of PlGF (p < 0.0001), whereas in hematoma fluid this difference was not apparent. Furthermore, the ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF was significantly lower in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Given previous evidence indicating a role for PlGF in promoting angiogenesis, inflammatory cell chemotaxis, and stimulation, as well as its ability to amplify VEGF-driven signaling under conditions favoring pathological angiogenesis, enhanced expression of PlGF in hematoma fluid suggests the involvement of this factor in the mechanisms of inflammation and angiogenesis in CSDH. Furthermore, a reduced ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF in hematoma fluid is consistent with the proangiogenic capacity of CSDH. Future studies are warranted to clarify the precise role of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 in CSDH.

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Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Mantha Pantazi, Georgios D. Lianos, George Stranjalis, and George A. Alexiou

OBJECTIVE

Congenital hydrocephalus (CH) is one of the most frequent CNS congenital malformations, representing an entity with serious pathological consequences. Although several studies have previously assessed child-related risk factors associated with CH development, there is a gap of knowledge on maternal environmental risk factors related to CH. The authors have systematically assessed extrinsic factors in the maternal environment that potentially confer an increased risk of CH development.

METHODS

The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE were systematically searched for works published between 1966 and December 2015 to identify all relevant articles published in English. Only studies that investigated environmental risk factors concerning the mother—either during gestation or pregestationally—were included.

RESULTS

In total, 13 studies (5 cohorts, 3 case series, 3 case-control studies, 1 meta-analysis, and 1 case report) meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. Maternal medication or alcohol use during gestation; lifestyle modifiable maternal pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, or hypertension; lack of prenatal care; and a low socioeconomic status were identified as significant maternal environmental risk factors for CH development. Maternal infections and trauma to the mother during pregnancy have also been highlighted as potential mother-related risk factors for CH.

CONCLUSIONS

Congenital hydrocephalus is an important cause of serious infant health disability that can lead to health inequalities among adults. The present study identified several maternal environmental risk factors for CH, thus yielding important scientific information relevant to prevention of some CH cases. However, further research is warranted to confirm the impact of the identified factors and examine their underlying behavioral and/or biological basis, leading to the generation of suitable prevention strategies.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Evangelos Drosos, Evgenia Lani, John Emelifeonwu, Faidon Liakos, Maria Piagkou, Theodosis Kalamatianos, George Stranjalis, and Christos Koutsarnakis

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the anatomical consistency, morphology, axonal connectivity, and correlative topography of the dorsal component of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF-I) since the current literature is limited and ambiguous.

METHODS

Fifteen normal, adult, formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres were studied through a medial to lateral fiber microdissection technique. In 5 specimens, the authors performed stepwise focused dissections of the lateral cerebral aspect to delineate the correlative anatomy between the SLF-I and the other two SLF subcomponents, namely the SLF-II and SLF-III.

RESULTS

The SLF-I was readily identified as a distinct fiber tract running within the cingulate or paracingulate gyrus and connecting the anterior cingulate cortex, the medial aspect of the superior frontal gyrus, the pre–supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), the SMA proper, the paracentral lobule, and the precuneus. With regard to the morphology of the SLF-I, two discrete segments were consistently recorded: an anterior and a posterior segment. A clear cleavage plane could be developed between the SLF-I and the cingulum, thus proving their structural integrity. Interestingly, no anatomical connection was revealed between the SLF-I and the SLF-II/SLF-III complex.

CONCLUSIONS

Study results provide novel and robust anatomical evidence on the topography, morphology, and subcortical architecture of the SLF-I. This fiber tract was consistently recorded as a distinct anatomical entity of the medial cerebral aspect, participating in the axonal connectivity of high-order paralimbic areas.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Evangelos Drosos, Evgenia Lani, Evangelia Liouta, Faidon Liakos, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Maria Piagkou, John A. Emelifeonwu, George Stranjalis, and Christos Koutsarnakis

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the morphology, connectivity, and correlative anatomy of the longitudinal group of fibers residing in the frontal area, which resemble the anterior extension of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and were previously described as the frontal longitudinal system (FLS).

METHODS

Fifteen normal adult formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres collected from cadavers were studied using the Klingler microdissection technique. Lateral to medial dissections were performed in a stepwise fashion starting from the frontal area and extending to the temporoparietal regions.

RESULTS

The FLS was consistently identified as a fiber pathway residing just under the superficial U-fibers of the middle frontal gyrus or middle frontal sulcus (when present) and extending as far as the frontal pole. The authors were able to record two different configurations: one consisting of two distinct, parallel, longitudinal fiber chains (13% of cases), and the other consisting of a single stem of fibers (87% of cases). The fiber chains’ cortical terminations in the frontal and prefrontal area were also traced. More specifically, the FLS was always recorded to terminate in Brodmann areas 6, 46, 45, and 10 (premotor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, pars triangularis, and frontal pole, respectively), whereas terminations in Brodmann areas 4 (primary motor cortex), 47 (pars orbitalis), and 9 were also encountered in some specimens. In relation to the SLF system, the FLS represented its anterior continuation in the majority of the hemispheres, whereas in a few cases it was recorded as a completely distinct tract. Interestingly, the FLS comprised shorter fibers that were recorded to interconnect exclusively frontal areas, thus exhibiting different fiber architecture when compared to the long fibers forming the SLF.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study provides consistent, focused, and robust evidence on the morphology, architecture, and correlative anatomy of the FLS. This fiber system participates in the axonal connectivity of the prefrontal-premotor cortices and allegedly subserves cognitive-motor functions. Based in the SLF hypersegmentation concept that has been advocated by previous authors, the FLS should be approached as a distinct frontal segment within the superior longitudinal system.

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Spyridon Komaitis, Christos Koutsarnakis, Evgenia Lani, Theodosis Kalamatianos, Evangelos Drosos, Georgios P. Skandalakis, Faidon Liakos, Evangelia Liouta, Aristotelis V. Kalyvas, and George Stranjalis

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to investigate the very existence and map the topography, morphology, and axonal connectivity of a thus far ill-defined subcortical pathway known as the fronto-caudate tract (FCT) since there is a paucity of direct structural evidence regarding this pathway in the relevant literature.

METHODS

Twenty normal adult cadaveric formalin-fixed cerebral hemispheres (10 left and 10 right) were explored through the fiber microdissection technique. Lateral to medial and medial to lateral dissections were carried out in a tandem manner in all hemispheres. Attention was focused on the prefrontal area and central core since previous diffusion tensor imaging studies have recorded the tract to reside in this territory.

RESULTS

In all cases, the authors readily identified the FCT as a fan-shaped pathway lying in the most medial layer of the corona radiata and traveling across the subependymal plane before terminating on the superolateral margin of the head and anterior part of the body of the caudate nucleus. The FCT could be adequately differentiated from adjacent fiber tracts and was consistently recorded to terminate in Brodmann areas 8, 9, 10, and 11 (anterior pre–supplementary motor area and the dorsolateral, frontopolar, and fronto-orbital prefrontal cortices). The authors were also able to divide the tract into a ventral and a dorsal segment according to the respective topography and connectivity observed. Hemispheric asymmetries were not observed, but instead the authors disclosed asymmetry within the FCT, with the ventral segment always being thicker and bulkier than the dorsal one.

CONCLUSIONS

By using the fiber microdissection technique, the authors provide sound structural evidence on the topography, morphology, and connectional anatomy of the FCT as a distinct part of a wider frontostriatal circuitry. The findings are in line with the tract’s putative functional implications in high-order motor and behavioral processes and can potentially inform current surgical practice in the fields of neuro-oncology and functional neurosurgery.