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Fu-Lin He, Shuai Qiu, Jian-Long Zou, Fan-Bin Gu, Zhi Yao, Zhe-Hui Tu, Yuan-Yuan Wang, Xiao-Lin Liu, Li-Hua Zhou, and Qing-Tang Zhu

OBJECTIVE

Neuropathic pain caused by traumatic neuromas is an extremely intractable clinical problem. Disorderly scar tissue accumulation and irregular and immature axon regeneration around the injury site mainly contribute to traumatic painful neuroma formation. Therefore, successfully preventing traumatic painful neuroma formation requires the effective inhibition of irregular axon regeneration and disorderly accumulation of scar tissue. Considering that chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) can act on the growth cone and effectively inhibit axon regeneration, the authors designed and manufactured a CSPG-gelatin blocker to regulate the CSPGs’ spatial distribution artificially and applied it in a rat model after sciatic nerve neurectomy to evaluate its effects in preventing traumatic painful neuroma formation.

METHODS

Sixty female Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups (positive group: no covering; blank group: covering with gelatin blocker; and CSPG group: covering with the CSPG-gelatin blocker). Pain-related factors were evaluated 2 and 8 weeks postoperatively (n = 30). Neuroma growth, autotomy behavior, and histological features of the neuromas were assessed 8 weeks postoperatively (n = 30).

RESULTS

Eight weeks postoperatively, typical bulb-shaped neuromas did not form in the CSPG group, and autotomy behavior was obviously better in the CSPG group (p < 0.01) than in the other two groups. Also, in the CSPG group the regenerated axons showed a lower density and more regular and improved myelination (p < 0.01). Additionally, the distribution and density of collagenous fibers and the expression of α–smooth muscle actin were significantly lower in the CSPG group than in the positive group (p < 0.01). Regarding pain-related factors, c-fos, substance P, interleukin (IL)–17, and IL-1β levels were significantly lower in the CSPG group than those in the positive and blank groups 2 weeks postoperatively (p < 0.05), while substance P and IL-17 remained lower in the CSPG group 8 weeks postoperatively (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that CSPGs loaded in a gelatin blocker can prevent traumatic neuroma formation and effectively relieve pain symptoms after sciatic nerve neurotomy by blocking irregular axon regeneration and disorderly collagenous fiber accumulation in the proximal nerve stump. These results indicate that covering the proximal nerve stump with CSPGs may be a new and promising strategy to prevent traumatic painful neuroma formation in the clinical setting.

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Chao-Jui Chang, Yuan-Fu Liu, Yu-Meng Hsiao, Yi-Hung Huang, Keng-Chang Liu, Ruey-Mo Lin, and Cheng-Li Lin

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) has long been regarded as a gold standard in the treatment of cervical myelopathy. Subsequently, cervical artificial disc replacement (c-ADR) was developed and provides the advantage of motion preservation at the level of the intervertebral disc surgical site, which may also reduce stress at adjacent levels. The goal of this study was to compare clinical and functional outcomes in patients undergoing ACDF with those in patients undergoing c-ADR for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed using the Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases from database inception to November 21, 2021. The authors compared Neck Disability Index (NDI), SF-36, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores; complication rates; and reoperation rates for these two surgical procedures in CSM patients. The Mantel-Haenszel method and variance-weighted means were used to analyze outcomes after identifying articles that met study inclusion criteria.

RESULTS

More surgical time was consumed in the c-ADR surgery (p = 0.04). Shorter hospital stays were noted in patients who had undergone c-ADR (p = 0.04). Patients who had undergone c-ADR tended to have better NDI scores (p = 0.02) and SF-36 scores (p = 0.001). Comparable outcomes in terms of JOA scores (p = 0.24) and neurological success rate (p = 0.12) were noted after the surgery. There was no significant between-group difference in the overall complication rates (c-ADR: 18% vs ACDF: 25%, p = 0.17). However, patients in the ACDF group had a higher reoperation rate than patients in the c-ADR group (4.6% vs 1.5%, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

At the midterm follow-up after treatment of CSM, better functional outcomes as reflected by NDI and SF-36 scores were noted in the c-ADR group than those in the ACDF group. c-ADR had the advantage of retaining range of motion at the level of the intervertebral disc surgical site without causing more complications. A large sample size with long-term follow-up studies may be required to confirm these findings in the future.

Free access

Li-Fu Chen, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Yu-Chun Chen, Jau-Ching Wu, Peng-Yuan Chang, Laura Liu, Wen-Cheng Huang, Su-Shun Lo, and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to estimate the risk of spinal cord injury (SCI) in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) with and without ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). Also, the study compared the incidence rates of SCI in patients who were managed surgically and conservatively.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study covering 15 years analyzed the incidence of SCI in patients with CSM. All patients, identified from the National Health Insurance Research Database, were hospitalized with the diagnosis of CSM and followed up during the study period. These patients with CSM were categorized into 4 groups according to whether they had OPLL or not and whether they received surgery or not: 1) surgically managed CSM without OPLL; 2) conservatively managed CSM without OPLL; 3) surgically managed CSM with OPLL; and 4) conservatively managed CSM with OPLL. The incidence rates of subsequent SCI in each group during follow-up were then compared. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were performed to compare the risk of SCI between the groups.

RESULTS

Between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2013, there were 17,258 patients with CSM who were followed up for 89,003.78 person-years. The overall incidence of SCI in these patients with CSM was 2.022 per 1000 person-years. Patients who had CSM with OPLL and were conservatively managed had the highest incidence of SCI, at 4.11 per 1000 person-years. Patients who had CSM with OPLL and were surgically managed had a lower incidence of SCI, at 3.69 per 1000 person-years. Patients who had CSM without OPLL and were conservatively managed had an even lower incidence of SCI, at 2.41 per 1000 person-years. Patients who had CSM without OPLL and were surgically managed had the lowest incidence of SCI, at 1.31 per 1000 person-years. The Cox regression model demonstrated that SCIs are significantly more likely to happen in male patients and in those with OPLL (HR 2.00 and 2.24, p < 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). Surgery could significantly lower the risk for approximately 50% of patients (HR 0.52, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with CSM had an overall incidence rate of SCI at approximately 0.2% per year. Male sex, the coexistence of OPLL, and conservative management are twice as likely to be associated with subsequent SCI. Surgery is therefore suggested for male patients with CSM who also have OPLL.

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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.