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Fangyou Gao, Qu Wang, Chuangxi Liu, Bing Xiong and Tao Luo

OBJECTIVE

This study was undertaken to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of individualized 3D printed model–assisted posterior internal fixation in treating craniovertebral junction (CVJ) abnormalities.

METHODS

Forty-four patients (19 males and 25 females; mean age 36.5 ± 9.2 years, range 11–62 years; symptom duration 1 month–15 years) with a CVJ abnormality who were admitted to the authors’ institution between April 2010 and April 2015 were retrospectively studied. The individualized 3D printed model of the CVJ was produced based on the individual CT data by use of 3D printing technology. The posterior internal fixation was simulated on the model to obtain data for individual patients, which were then used for intraoperative assistance. One-stage posterior decompression combined with internal fixation was performed. The results were evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale, atlanto-dens interval (ADI), and cervicomedullary angle (CMA). The patients underwent follow-up and outcomes were evaluated using CT, MRI, and the JOA scale score. The comparison between preoperative and postoperative JOA scale scores was done using a paired t-test.

RESULTS

Thirty-eight individualized 3D printed models were successfully built. The 38 patients underwent successful posterior internal fixation performed with the assistance of 3D printed models. In the 6 patients without an individualized printed model (i.e., the patients who underwent surgery before 3D printed modeling was available at the authors’ institution), the pedicle screw was inserted incorrectly into the transverse foramen in 2 patients and inserted incorrectly into the vertebral canal in 1 patient. All patients were observed for a mean of 26 months (range 3–52 months). The postoperative JOA scale scores for all patients significantly improved from the preoperative scores. Among the 41 patients treated with atlantoaxial distraction reduction, postoperative MRI and CT showed complete reduction in 31 patients and incomplete reduction in 10 patients (reduction rate > 50%). The postoperative ADI significantly decreased, and the CMA significantly increased.

CONCLUSIONS

Individualized 3D printed model–assisted posterior internal fixation seems feasible and effective in optimizing the treatment of CVJ abnormalities. In addition, it offers many advantages, including preoperative simulation, intraoperatve guidance, and intraoperative error minimization.

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Hongwei Wang, Yuan Zhang, Qiang Xiang, Xuke Wang, Changqing Li, Hongyan Xiong and Yue Zhou

Object

The main objective of this study was to analyze the epidemiological data obtained from patients with traumatic spinal fracture at 2 university-affiliated hospitals in Chongqing, China.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of all patients who suffered traumatic spinal fracture and were treated at Xinqiao Hospital and Southwest Hospital (both affiliated with The Third Military Medical University) between January 2001 and December 2010. The demographic characteristics, injury characteristics, and clinical outcomes of patients over this 10-year period were compared.

Results

A total of 3142 patients (mean age 45.7 years, range 1–92 years) with traumatic spinal fractures were identified; 65.5% of the patients were male. The peak frequency of these injuries occurred in the 31- to 40-year-old age group. Accidental falls and traffic accidents were the most common causes of spinal fractures (58.9% and 20.9%, respectively). Traffic accidents tended to occur in younger patients, whereas accidental falls tended to occur in older patients. The most common area of fracture was the thoracolumbar spine (54.9%). Cervical spinal fractures were significantly more common in patients injured in traffic accidents, while lumbar spinal fractures were more common in accidental fall patients. Using the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) classification, 479 (15.3%) patients were classified as having ASIA A injuries; 913 (29.1%), ASIA B, ASIA C, or ASIA D; and 1750 (55.7%), ASIA E. ASIA A injuries were more common in patients who suffered thoracic spinal fractures (15.09%) than in those with fractures in other areas of the spine. A total of 954 (30.4%) patients had associated nonspinal injuries. Of these patients, 389 (40.78%) suffered a thoracic injury, and 191 (20.02%) sustained a head and neck injury. The length of hospitalization differed significantly between the accidental falls from high heights and falls from low heights, as did the mean cost of hospitalization (p < 0.05), but no significant difference was found between accidental falls from high heights and traffic accidents (p > 0.05). The length of hospitalization differed significantly among the 3 groups according to the ASIA classification, as did the mean cost of hospitalization (p < 0.05). Of patients with incomplete lesions, 39.3% improved 1 or more grades in ASIA classification during hospitalization.

Conclusions

Accidental falls emerged as the leading cause of traumatic spinal fracture in this study, and the numbers of fall-induced and sports-related injuries increased steadily with age. These results indicate that there should be increased concern for the consequences of fall- and sports-related injuries among the elderly.

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Qing-Song Lin, Wei-Xiong Wang, Yuan-Xiang Lin, Zhang-Ya Lin, Liang-Hong Yu, Yin Kang and De-Zhi Kang

OBJECTIVE

Glutamate excitotoxicity and neuronal apoptosis are suggested to contribute to early brain injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Annexin A7 (ANXA7) has been shown to regulate glutamate release. However, the role of ANXA7 in early brain injury after SAH has not been illustrated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of ANXA7 knockdown in reducing the severity of early brain injury after SAH, and determine the underlying mechanisms.

METHODS

Endovascular perforation was performed to induce SAH in male Sprague-Dawley rats. ANXA7-siRNA was administered via intraventricular injection 5 days before SAH induction. Neurological test, evaluation of SAH grade, assessment of blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, measurement of brain water content, Western blot, double immunofluorescence staining, TUNEL staining, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed at 24 hours of SAH induction.

RESULTS

ANXA7 protein expression increased significantly after SAH induction and was seen mainly in neurons. High expression of ANXA7 was associated with poor neurological status. ANXA7 knockdown dramatically ameliorated early brain injury through alleviating BBB disruption and brain edema. Further investigation of the mechanism showed that inhibiting ANXA7 expression can rescue neuronal apoptosis. In addition, ANXA7 knockdown also significantly reduced glutamate release, which was consistent with a significant increase of Bcl-2 expression and decreases of Bax and cleaved caspase-3 expression.

CONCLUSIONS

ANXA7 can induce neuronal apoptosis by affecting glutamate release in rats with SAH. Downregulating the expression of ANXA7 can significantly attenuate early brain injury after SAH. Future therapy targeting ANXA7 may be a promising new choice.

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Xian-xin Qiu, Chen-hong Wang, Zhi-xiong Lin, Na You, Xing-fu Wang, Yu-peng Chen, Long Chen, Shui-yuan Liu and De-zhi Kang

OBJECT

Peritumoral brain edema (PTBE) is a common phenomenon associated with high-grade gliomas (HGGs). In this study, the authors investigated the expression of Notch delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) and its correlation with PTBE and prognosis in patients with an HGG.

METHODS

Tumors from 99 patients with HGG were analyzed for DLL4 expression using immunohistochemistry. PTBE on preoperative MR images and the relationship between PTBE and DLL4 expression were evaluated. The effect of DLL4 on patient prognosis was assessed by using Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS

Immunohistochemistry results revealed that the expression of DLL4 was distributed primarily within the cytoplasm of tumor vascular endothelial cells and seldom detected in tumor cells. DLL4 expression was correlated positively with the degree of edema (r = 0.845 and p < 0.001, Spearman’s test). In addition, DLL4 was an independent predictor of prognosis in patients with HGGs (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

DLL4 expression was correlated positively with the degree of PTBE and was an independent unfavorable prognostic indicator in patients with HGG.

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Xueyan Wan, Chao Gan, Chao You, Ting Fan, Suojun Zhang, Huaqiu Zhang, Sheng Wang, Kai Shu, Xiong Wang and Ting Lei

OBJECTIVE

The intracranial hematoma volume in patients with traumatic brain injury is a key parameter for the determination of the management approach and outcome. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 is reported to be a risk factor for larger hematoma volume, which might contribute to a poor outcome. However, whether APOE ε4 is related to progressive hemorrhagic injury (PHI), a common occurrence in the clinical setting, remains unclear. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the association between the APOE genotype and occurrence of PHI.

METHODS

This prospective study included a cohort of 123 patients with traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage who initially underwent conservative treatment. These patients were assigned to the PHI or non-PHI group according to the follow-up CT scan. A polymerase chain reaction and sequencing method were carried out to determine the APOE genotype. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was applied to identify predictors of PHI.

RESULTS

The overall frequency of the alleles was as follows: E2/2, 0%; E2/3, 14.6%; E3/3, 57.8%; E2/4, 2.4%; E3/4, 22.8%; and E4/4, 2.4%. Thirty-four patients carried at least one allele of ε4. In this study 60 patients (48.8%) experienced PHI, and the distribution of the alleles was as follows: E2/2, 0%; E2/3, 5.7%; E3/3, 22.8%; E2/4, 2.4%; E3/4, 16.3%; and E4/4, 1.6%, which was significantly different from that in the non-PHI group (p = 0.008). Additionally, the late operation rate in the PHI group was significantly higher than that in the non-PHI group (24.4% vs 11.4%, p = 0.002). Multivariate logistic regression identified APOE ε4 (OR 5.14, 95% CI 2.40–11.62), an elevated international normalized ratio (OR 3.57, 95% CI 1.61–8.26), and higher glucose level (≥ 10 mmol/L) (OR 3.88, 95% CI 1.54–10.77) as independent risk factors for PHI. Moreover, APOE ε4 was not a risk factor for the coagulopathy and outcome of the patients with traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS

The presence of APOE ε4, an elevated international normalized ratio, and a higher glucose level (≥ 10 mmol/L) are predictors of PHI. Additionally, APOE ε4 is not associated with traumatic coagulopathy and patient outcome.

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Yaxing Chen and Liangxue Zhou