Morphological study of experimental syringomyelia with kaolin-induced hydrocephalus in a canine model

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Pathology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan
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✓ In this morphological study the authors investigated whether spinal cord cavitation, produced in young mongrel dogs that had been rendered hydrocephalic by cisternal injection of kaolin, consists of a dilated central canal or intramedullary cavities. Hydrocephalus was noted in 50 of 56 dogs treated with kaolin. Of the 50 hydrocephalic young dogs, 29 were shown to have central canal dilation that was prominent at the thoracic level and 21 to have cervical intramedullary cavities in the posterior column and/or the posterior horn. In 11 dogs from the latter group these cavities were demonstrated to have no communication with the central canal. This finding could not be explained by the hydrodynamic theory.

On histopathological examination, myelomalacia and hemorrhagic infarction following ventricular shunting were noted adjacent to the cervical cavities, which suggested vascular impairment. A perfusion study revealed insufficient blood flow within the cervical cord at the level of the intramedullary cavities. A close correlation between the vascular insufficiency of the cervical cord and the pressure cone resulting from significant hydrocephalus was observed. The latter may cause cervicomedullary compression at the foramen magnum, affecting the venous drainage of the cervical cord below that level, resulting in intramedullary cavitation.

Accordingly, vascular impairment was thought to play a significant role in the development of cervical syrinx formation in our kaolin model. The current results may provide a reasonable explanation for the formation of noncommunicating cervical syringomyelia in Chiari I malformation.

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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 City 807, Japan.
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