Reconstitution of shunted mantle in experimental hydrocephalus

Haruyuki Yamada M.D.1, Akira Yokota M.D.1, Akiko Furuta M.D.1, and Akio Horie M.D.1
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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Pathology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan
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✓ The morphological mechanism of the reconstitution of shunted mantle was studied histopathologically in 22 kaolin-treated hydrocephalic puppies. A remarkable attenuation of cerebral mantle to less than 1 cm in thickness was seen on computerized tomography (CT) scans of four animals sacrificed 1 to 2 months after kaolin treatment (preshunt group). Ventricular shunting resulted in successful recovery of the mantle on repeated CT scans obtained 1 to 2 months after shunting in seven animals (postshunt group). In the remaining 11 animals the cerebral mantle, which had been reduced to 4 mm in thickness prior to shunting, failed to recover even 2 months after the procedure (shunt-refractory group).

On gross inspection, the preshunt specimens showed marked thinning of the white matter, with the cortical ribbon well preserved, while the postshunt specimens consisted predominantly of thickened white matter. Histopathological examination of the attenuated white matter of the preshunt specimens showed decreased nerve-fiber density, myelin destruction with myelin regeneration and/or repair of myelin sheaths, and reactive astrocytosis, which were prominent especially in the periventricular white matter. The main findings in the reconstituted white matter of the postshunt specimens were extensive myelin regeneration of residual axons and remarkable astroglial proliferation with mesenchymal reaction, particularly at capillaries. No clear evidence of increased numbers of nerve fibers or axonal regeneration was observed. The shunt-refractory specimens showed remarkable attenuation of cortex, in which reduced numbers of neurons and loss of cortical lamination were noted, with vestigial white matter.

The results indicate that astroglial proliferation with mesenchymal reaction and myelin regeneration contribute to the reconstitution of the cerebral mantle volume following ventricular shunting in this model. It is suggested that the critical factor for mantle reconstitution in chronic hydrocephalus is whether cortex is preserved.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Haruyuki Yamada, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, 1–1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu 807, Japan.
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