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Xiao-Fei Hou, Dong-Wei Fan, Chui-Guo Sun and Zhong-Qiang Chen

Object

The primary object of this investigation was to study recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2)–induced ossification of the ligamentum flavum and associated histone H3 modification in a rat model. In an additional set of studies the authors investigated spinal cord and behavioral changes in the same model.

Methods

The authors report on 2 separate sets of studies. A total of 90 rats were used for the 2 sets of studies (45 each); in each study, a lyophilized rhBMP-2 and collagen mixture (20 μg rhBMP-2 and 200 μl collagen) was implanted in the lumbar extradural space in 18 rats; another 18 animals were used for a sham-operation control group and underwent implantation of lyophilized collagen without rhBMP-2 at the same level; an additional 9 animals were used as untreated controls. Lumbar spinal samples were harvested from the rhBMP-2 groups and the shamoperation control groups at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 9 weeks after the operation. Samples were also obtained from untreated controls at the same time points. All samples were scanned using micro-CT and then made into paraffinembedded sections. The sections from the first set of 45 rats were stained using elastica van Gieson and toluidine blue, and the expression of histone modifications (H3K9ac, H3K18ac, H3K4me3, and H3K36me3) and osteogenic transcription factors (osterix, Runx2) was detected by immunohistochemistry. In the second set of studies, hindlimb motor function was assessed at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 9 weeks after surgery. After behavioral evaluation, samples were harvested, scanned using micro-CT, and then made into paraffin-embedded sections. The sections were stained using Luxol fast blue. The expression of NeuN was also detected using immunohistochemistry.

Results

Ossification was seen in the rhBMP-2 group from 1 week after insertion, and the volume of ossified mass increased at 3 and 9 weeks. There was no ossification seen in the sham-surgery and normal controls. The pathological changes of ossification involved ligament degeneration, cartilage formation, and, finally, bone replacement. Spinal cord evaluation showed a significant decrease in white matter content and number of neurons at 9 weeks after operation in the rhBMP-2–treated group (compared with findings in the sham-surgery and control groups as well as findings at the earlier time points in the rhBMP-2 group).

Using immunohistochemical staining, histone modifications (H3K9ac, H3K18ac, H3K4me3, and H3K36me3) and osteogenic transcription factors (osterix, Runx2) all were found to be expressed in the fibrocartilage area of the rat ossified ligamentum flavum samples (rhBMP2 group).

Conclusions

This rhBMP-2–induced OLF is a typical endochondral ossification, which is similar to clinical OLF. The compressed spinal cord around the ossification site showed signs of a chronic degenerative process. Histone H3 modifications (H3K9ac, H3K18ac, H3K4me3, and H3K36me3) may play an important role in OLF.

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Samir Sarda, Wei Dong and Joshua J. Chern

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Xu-Yun Hua, Bin Liu, Yan-Qun Qiu, Wei-Jun Tang, Wen-Dong Xu, Han-Qiu Liu, Jian-Guang Xu and Yu-Dong Gu

Object

Contralateral C-7 nerve transfer was developed for the treatment of patients with brachial plexus avulsion injury (BPAI). In the surgical procedure the affected recipient nerve is connected to the ipsilateral motor cortex, and the dramatic peripheral alteration may trigger extensive cortical reorganization. However, little is known about the long-term results after such specific nerve transfers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the long-term cortical adaptive plasticity after BPAI and contralateral C-7 nerve transfer.

Methods

In this study, 9 healthy male volunteers and 5 male patients who suffered from right-sided BPAI and had undergone contralateral C-7-transfer more than 5 years earlier were included. Functional MRI studies were used for the investigation of long-term cerebral plasticity.

Results

The neuroimaging results suggested that the ongoing cortical remodeling process after contralateral C-7 nerve transfer could last for a long period; at least for 5 years. The motor control of the reinnervated limb may finally transfer from the ipsilateral to the contralateral hemisphere exclusively, instead of the bilateral neural network activation.

Conclusions

The authors believe that the cortical remodeling may last for a long period after peripheral rearrangement and that the successful cortical transfer is the foundation of the independent motor recovery.

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Wang Gai Qing, Yang Qi Dong, Tang Qing Ping, Li Guang Lai, Li Dong Fang, Hu Wei Min, Lian Xia and Pei Yu Heng

Object

Brain edema formation following intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) appears to be partly related to erythrocyte lysis and hemoglobin release. An increase of brain water content was associated with an increase of brain iron, which is an erythrocyte degradation product. Expression of AQP4 is highly modified in several brain disorders, and it can play a key role in cerebral edema formation. However, the question whether AQP4 is regulated by drugs lacks reliable evidence, and the interacting roles of iron overload and AQP4 in brain edema after ICH are unknown. The goal of this study was to clarify the relationship between iron overload and AQP4 expression and to characterize the effects of the iron chelator deferoxamine (DFO) on delayed brain edema after experimental ICH.

Methods

A total of 144 Sprague-Dawley rats weighing between 250 and 300 g were used in this work. The animals were randomly divided into 4 groups. The ICH models (Group C) were generated by injecting 100 μl autologous blood stereotactically into the right caudate nucleus; surgical control rats (Group B) were generated in a similar fashion, by injecting 100 μl saline into the right caudate nucleus. Intervention models (Group D) were established by intraperitoneal injection of DFO into rats in the ICH group. Healthy rats (Group A) were used for normal control models. Brain water content, iron deposition, and AQP4 in perihematomal brain tissue were evaluated over the time course of the study (1, 3, 7, and 14 days) in each group.

Results

Iron deposition was found in the perihematomal zone as early as the 1st day after ICH, reaching a peak after 7 days and remaining at a high level thereafter for at least 14 days following ICH. Rat brain water content around the hematoma increased progressively over the time course, reached its peak at Day 3, and still was evident at Day 7 post-ICH. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that AQP4 was richly expressed over glial cell processes surrounding microvessels in the rat brain; there was upregulation of the AQP4 expression in perihematomal brain during the observation period, and it reached maximum at 3 to 7 days after ICH. The changes of brain water content were accompanied by an alteration of AQP4. The application of the iron chelator DFO significantly reduced iron overload, brain water content, and AQP4 level in the perihematomal area compared with the control group.

Conclusions

Iron overload and AQP4 may play a critical role in the formation of brain edema after ICH. In addition, AQP4 expression was affected by iron concentration. Importantly, treatment with DFO significantly reduced brain edema in rats and inhibited the AQP4 upregulation after ICH. Deferoxamine may be a potential therapeutic agent for treating ICH.

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Xiao-Dong Wu, Wen Yuan, Hua-Jiang Chen, Yu Chen, Jian-Xi Wang, Peng Cao, Ying Zhang, Xin-Wei Wang, Li-Li Yang, Yuan-Yuan Chen and Nicholas Tsai

Object

Multilevel anterior cervical decompression and fusion is indicated for patients with multilevel compression or stenosis of the spinal cord. Some have reported that this procedure would lead to a loss of cervical range of motion (CROM). However, few studies have demonstrated the exact impact of the procedure on CROM. Here, the authors describe short- and midterm postoperative CROM following multilevel anterior cervical decompression and fusion.

Methods

Thirty-five patients underwent a 3- or 4-level anterior cervical decompression and fusion. In all patients, active CROM was measured preoperatively and at both the short-term (3–4 months) and midterm (12–15 months) follow-ups by using a CROM device. The preoperative and postoperative data were analyzed using ANOVA (α = 0.05).

Results

Patients had significantly less ROM in all planes of motion postoperatively. The greater limitation in CROM was observed at the short-term follow-up. However, at the midterm follow-up, an obvious increase in CROM was observed in each cardinal plane compared with that in the short-term (sagittal plane 17.4%, coronal plane 14.1%, and horizontal plane 19.5%). A gradual increase in the CROM in each cardinal plane was observed during the recovery period in 5 patients. In the 6 conventional motions, the major recovery of CROM was observed in flexion (27.5%), while relatively less recovery was seen in extension (10.5%).

Conclusions

Patients had an obvious reduction in active CROM following multilevel anterior cervical decompression and fusion. The greater limitation in CROM was observed at the short-term follow-up. In the midterm follow-up, however, an obvious recovery in CROM was observed in each cardinal plane, reducing the restriction of neck motion further.

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Wei Dong Zhu, Qi Huang, Xi Ye Li, Hong Sai Chen, Zhao Yan Wang and Hao Wu

OBJECT

Cavernous hemangioma of the internal auditory canal (IAC) is an extremely rare type of tumor, and only 50 cases have been reported in the literature prior to this study. The aim in this study was to describe the symptomatology, radiological features, and surgical outcomes for patients with cavernous hemangioma of the IAC and to discuss the diagnostic criteria and treatment strategy for the disease.

METHODS

The study included 6 patients with cavernous hemangioma of the IAC. All patients presented with sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus, and 2 also suffered from vertigo. Five patients reported a history of facial symptoms with hemispasm or palsy: 3 had progressive facial weakness, 1 had a hemispasm, and 1 had a history of recovery from sudden facial paresis. All patients underwent CT and MRI to rule out intracanalicular vestibular schwannomas and facial nerve neuromas. Five patients had their tumors surgically removed, while 1 patient, who did not have facial problems, was followed up with a wait-and-scan approach.

RESULTS

All patients had a presurgical diagnosis of cavernous hemangioma of the IAC, which was confirmed pathologically in the 5 patients who underwent surgical removal of the tumor. The translabyrinthine approach was used to remove the tumor in 4 patients, while the middle cranial fossa approach was used in the 1 patient who still had functional hearing. Tumors adhered to cranial nerves VII and/or VIII and were difficult to dissect from nerve sheaths during surgeries. Complete hearing loss occurred in all 5 patients. In 3 patients, the facial nerve could not be separated from the tumor, and primary end-to-end anastomosis was performed. Intact facial nerve preservation was achieved in 2 patients. Patients were followed up for at least 1 year after treatment, and MRI showed no evidence of tumor regrowth. All patients experienced some level of recovery in facial nerve function.

CONCLUSIONS

Cavernous hemangioma of the IAC can be diagnosed preoperatively through analysis of clinical features and neuroimaging. Early surgical intervention may preserve the functional integrity of the facial nerve and provide a better outcome after nerve reconstruction. However, preservation of functional hearing may not be achieved, even with the retrosigmoid or middle cranial fossa approaches. The translabyrinthine approach seems to be the most appropriate approach overall, as the facial nerve can be easily located and reconstructed.

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Guo-Bao Wang, Ai-Ping Yu, Chye Yew Ng, Gao-Wei Lei, Xiao-Min Wang, Yan-Qun Qiu, Jun-Tao Feng, Tie Li, Qing-Zhong Chen, Qian-Ru He, Fei Ding, Shu-Sen Cui, Yu-Dong Gu, Jian-Guang Xu, Su Jiang and Wen-Dong Xu

OBJECTIVE

Contralateral C7 (CC7) nerve root has been used as a donor nerve for targeted neurotization in the treatment of total brachial plexus palsy (TBPP). The authors aimed to study the contribution of C7 to the innervation of specific upper-limb muscles and to explore the utility of C7 nerve root as a recipient nerve in the management of TBPP.

METHODS

This was a 2-part investigation. 1) Anatomical study: the C7 nerve root was dissected and its individual branches were traced to the muscles in 5 embalmed adult cadavers bilaterally. 2) Clinical series: 6 patients with TBPP underwent CC7 nerve transfer to the middle trunk of the injured side. Outcomes were evaluated with the modified Medical Research Council scale and electromyography studies.

RESULTS

In the anatomical study there were consistent and predominantly C7-derived nerve fibers in the lateral pectoral, thoracodorsal, and radial nerves. There was a minor contribution from C7 to the long thoracic nerve. The average distance from the C7 nerve root to the lateral pectoral nerve entry point of the pectoralis major was the shortest, at 10.3 ± 1.4 cm. In the clinical series the patients had been followed for a mean time of 30.8 ± 5.3 months postoperatively. At the latest follow-up, 5 of 6 patients regained M3 or higher power for shoulder adduction and elbow extension. Two patients regained M3 wrist extension. All regained some wrist and finger extension, but muscle strength was poor. Compound muscle action potentials were recorded from the pectoralis major at a mean follow-up of 6.7 ± 0.8 months; from the latissimus dorsi at 9.3 ± 1.4 months; from the triceps at 11.5 ± 1.4 months; from the wrist extensors at 17.2 ± 1.5 months; from the flexor carpi radialis at 17.0 ± 1.1 months; and from the digital extensors at 22.8 ± 2.0 months. The average sensory recovery of the index finger was S2. Transient paresthesia in the hand on the donor side, which resolved within 6 months postoperatively, was reported by all patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The C7 nerve root contributes consistently to the lateral pectoral nerve, the thoracodorsal nerve, and long head of the triceps branch of the radial nerve. CC7 to C7 nerve transfer is a reconstructive option in the overall management plan for TBPP. It was safe and effective in restoring shoulder adduction and elbow extension in this patient series. However, recoveries of wrist and finger extensions are poor.