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Hao-Li Liu, Hung-Wei Yang, Mu-Yi Hua and Kuo-Chen Wei

Malignant glioma is a severe primary CNS cancer with a high recurrence and mortality rate. The current strategy of surgical debulking combined with radiation therapy or chemotherapy does not provide good prognosis, tumor progression control, or improved patient survival. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) acts as a major obstacle to chemotherapeutic treatment of brain tumors by severely restricting drug delivery into the brain. Because of their high toxicity, chemotherapeutic drugs cannot be administered at sufficient concentrations by conventional delivery methods to significantly improve long-term survival of patients with brain tumors. Temporal disruption of the BBB by microbubble-enhanced focused ultrasound (FUS) exposure can increase CNS-blood permeability, providing a promising new direction to increase the concentration of therapeutic agents in the brain tumor and improve disease control. Under the guidance and monitoring of MR imaging, a brain drug-delivery platform can be developed to control and monitor therapeutic agent distribution and kinetics. The success of FUS BBB disruption in delivering a variety of therapeutic molecules into brain tumors has recently been demonstrated in an animal model. In this paper the authors review a number of critical studies that have demonstrated successful outcomes, including enhancement of the delivery of traditional clinically used chemotherapeutic agents or application of novel nanocarrier designs for actively transporting drugs or extending drug half-lives to significantly improve treatment efficacy in preclinical animal models.

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Wei Qu, Dingjun Hao, Qining Wu, Zongrang Song and Jijun Liu

Unilateral facet dislocation at the subaxial cervical spine (C3–7) in children younger than 8 years of age is rare. The authors describe a surgical approach for irreducible subaxial cervical unilateral facet dislocation (SCUFD) at C3–4 in a 5-year-old boy and present a literature review. A dorsal unilateral approach was applied, and a biodegradable plate was used for postreduction fixation without fusion after failed conservative treatment. There was complete resolution of symptoms and restored cervical stability. Two years after surgery, the patient had recovered range of motion in C3–4. In selected cases of cervical spine injury in young children, a biodegradable plate can maintain reduction until healing occurs, obviate the need to remove an implant, and recover the motion of the injured segment.

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Guo Yu, Peixi Liu, Yuan Shi, Sichen Li, Yingjun Liu, Zhiyuan Fan and Wei Zhu

OBJECTIVE

Emerging evidence shows that frequent recurrence of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) after endovascular coiling is attributable to the lack of endothelialization across the aneurysm neck. Recently, much attention has been given to the role of microRNAs (miRs) in vascular disease, although their contributory role to IA is poorly understood.

METHODS

Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to microsurgery to create a coiled embolization aneurysm model, and were injected with miR-31a-5p agomir or a negative control agomir via the tail vein at a dose of 10 mg/kg per week for 4 weeks after IA induction. H & E staining, scanning electron microscopy, and flow cytometry were performed to evaluate the effects of miR-31a-5p agomir on endothelialization and the number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). The effects of miR-31a-5p on the viability and functioning of EPCs were also determined using Cell Counting Kit–8, wound-healing assay, and tube formation assays.

RESULTS

The authors tested the ability of miR-31a-5p to promote EPC-induced endothelialization in a model of coiled embolization aneurysm. miR-31a-5p agomir improved endothelialization and elevated the number of circulating EPCs in the peripheral blood compared to a negative control agomir–treated group. In addition, the number of vWF- and KDR-positive cells in the aneurysm neck was increased in the miR-31a-5p agomir–treated group. Furthermore, upregulation of miR-31a-5p promoted EPC proliferation, migration, and tube formation and enhanced the expression of the proangiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro. Mechanistically, miR-31a-5p directly targeted the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of Axin1 messenger RNA and repressed its expression. Besides, miR-31a-5p exerted its effect on EPCs by regulating the Axin1-mediated Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

CONCLUSIONS

Collectively, these results indicate that miR-31a-5p is an important regulator of EPC mobilization and endothelialization and may have a positive effect on aneurysm repair.

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Yanxi Liu, Zhan Zhang, Jiangbo Wang, Guangzhi Wu, Wei Yu and Shusen Cui

OBJECTIVE

Both clinical and radiological reports have suggested that the subclavius, a muscle in the costoclavicular space of the thoracic outlet, participates in neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS) in some instances, especially during movements narrowing the costoclavicular space. Magnetic resonance imaging can identify subclavius muscles with signs of nerve impingement, yet the impact of the subclavius in such situations remains unclear. Therefore, the authors investigated whether dividing or sparing the subclavius characterized by nerve impingement on MRI would affect surgical outcomes.

METHODS

In this retrospective nonrandomized study, authors analyzed all NTOS patients with a subclavius muscle characterized by nerve impingement on MRI (loss of normal fat planes surrounding the brachial plexus) in the period between March 2010 and November 2016. Patients were divided into two groups: the sparing group, in which patients had undergone conventional supraclavicular scalenectomy and first rib resection (FRR), and the dividing group, in which patients had undergone scalenectomy, FRR, and subclavius dividing using a modified supraclavicular incision. The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, a shoulder range of motion subscale (DASH items 6, 12–15, and 19) concerning overhead activities that can significantly narrow the costoclavicular space, postoperative MRI studies, and patient self-assessments were used to assess surgical outcomes. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify independent factors associated with subscale scores.

RESULTS

From a total of 261 patients screened, 71 were eligible for study inclusion. Compared with the sparing group (33 patients), the dividing group (38 patients) had similar postoperative DASH scores and self-assessments but better subscale scores (9.50 ± 2.76 vs 11.94 ± 2.87, p = 0.0005). Postoperative MRI on hyperabduction showed that the brachial plexus became surrounded by normal fat tissue in the costoclavicular space in the diving group but still had signs of impingement from the untreated subclavius muscle in the sparing group. This observation agreed with a better functional recovery in terms of overhead activities in the dividing group, which was reflected by better subscale scores. Multivariate analyses indicated that the type of treatment and symptom duration prior to surgery influenced the subscale scores independently.

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that an untreated radiological nerve-compressing subclavius muscle could lead to a relatively lower degree of recovery in the ability to perform overhead activities for NTOS patients postoperatively, suggesting that such subclavius muscles may participate in positional brachial plexus compression during movements narrowing the costoclavicular space. Dividing the muscles could decompress the costoclavicular space more effectively and may lead to better functional recovery.

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Chun-Wei Yu, Kuan-Ting Chen, Yu-Lan Liu, Yi-Chiao Hsieh, Dun-Wei Huang, Yi-Feng Lee, Tsui-Jung Chien and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Jiangwei Tan, Yanping Zheng, Liangtai Gong, Xinyu Liu, Jianmin Li and Wei Du

Object

The authors report the short-term results of anterior cervical discectomy and interbody fusion performed via an endoscopic approach.

Methods

Thirty-six patients who underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) performed using endoscopic surgery were selected for this study. The indications for surgery were cervical disc herniation caused by neck injury, spondylotic myelopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and solitary ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). The involved levels included C3–4, C4–5, C5–6, and C6–7. The working channel was inserted through a 20-mm transverse incision, the protruding discs or area of OPLL were excised for complete decompression, and then an appropriate intervertebral polyetheretherketone fusion cage was implanted.

Results

The time spent in surgery was 120 minutes on average (range 50–150 minutes), and the mean blood loss was 55 ml (range 20–140 ml). There were no intraoperative complications and no symptoms of irritation in the laryngopharynx after surgery. However, postoperative hemorrhage of the incision occurred in 1 case. The follow-up period ranged from 26–50 months (mean 38.5 months). Postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association and visual analog scale scores improved significantly.

Conclusions

Endoscopic surgery for ACDF can produce satisfactory results in patients with cervical disc herniation, cervical myelopathy, or radiculopathy. The optimal levels for this procedure are C4–5 and C5–6. Compared with a traditional approach, this technique has great advantages in terms of cosmetic results, intraoperative visualization, and postoperative recovery course. Nevertheless, every precaution should be taken to avoid possible complications, such as postoperative hemorrhage.

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Shikun Zhan, Fafa Sun, Yixin Pan, Wei Liu, Peng Huang, Chunyan Cao, Jing Zhang, Dianyou Li and Bomin Sun

OBJECTIVE

Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of primary Meige syndrome. However, assessments of its efficacy and safety have been limited to several case reports and small studies.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study to assess the efficacy and safety of bilateral subthalamic nucleus stimulation in 15 patients with primary Meige syndrome who responded poorly to medical treatments or botulinum toxin injections. Using the movement and disability subscores of the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale, the authors evaluated the severity of patients’ dystonia and related before surgery and at final follow-up during neurostimulation. The movement scale was assessed based on preoperative and postoperative video documentation by an independent rater who was unaware of each patient’s neurostimulation status. Quality of life was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form General Health Survey.

RESULTS

The dystonia movement subscores in 14 consecutive patients improved from 19.3 ± 7.6 (mean ± standard deviation) before surgery to 5.5 ± 4.5 at final follow-up (28.5 ± 16.5 months), with a mean improvement of 74% (p < 0.05). The disability subscore improved from 15.6 ± 4.9 before surgery to 6.1 ± 3.5 at final follow-up (p < 0.05). In addition, the postoperative SF-36 scores increased markedly over those at baseline. The authors also found that bilateral stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus immediately improved patient symptoms after stimulation and required lower stimulation parameters than those needed for pallidal deep brain stimulation for primary Meige syndrome. Four adverse events occurred in 3 patients; all of these events resolved without permanent sequelae.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings provide further evidence to support the long-term efficacy and safety of subthalamic nucleus stimulation as an alternative treatment for patients with medically intractable Meige syndrome.

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Fujun Liu, Wei Chen and Jing Chen