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BACKGROUND - The management of peripheral nerve injuries remains a large challenge for plastic surgeons. With the inability to fuse axonal endings, results after microsurgical nerve repair have been inconsistent. Our current nerve repair strategies rely upon the slow and lengthy process of axonal regeneration (~1 mm/d). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been investigated as a potential axonal fusion agent; however, the percentage of axonal fusion has been inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to identify a PEG delivery device to standardize outcomes after attempted axonal fusion with PEG.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We used a rat sciatic nerve injury model in which we completely transected and repaired the left sciatic nerve to evaluate the efficacy of PEG fusion over a span of 12 weeks. In addition, we evaluated the effectiveness of a delivery device's ability to optimize results after PEG fusion.
RESULTS - We found that PEG rapidly (within minutes) restores axonal continuity as assessed by electrophysiology, fluorescent retrograde tracer, and diffusion tensor imaging. Immunohistochemical analysis shows that motor axon counts are significantly increased at 1 week, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks postoperatively in PEG-treated animals. Furthermore, PEG restored behavioral functions up to 50% compared with animals that received the criterion standard epineurial repair (control animals).
CONCLUSIONS - The ability of PEG to rapidly restore nerve function after neurotmesis could have vast implications on the clinical management of traumatic injuries to peripheral nerves.
BACKGROUND - Peripheral nerve injury can have a devastating impact on our military and veteran population. Current strategies for peripheral nerve repair include techniques such as nerve tubes, nerve grafts, tissue matrices, and nerve growth guides to enhance the number of regenerating axons. Even with such advanced techniques, it takes months to regain function. In animal models, polyethylene glycol (PEG) therapy has shown to improve both physiologic and behavioral outcomes after nerve transection by fusion of a portion of the proximal axons to the distal axon stumps. The objective of this study was to show the efficacy of PEG fusion in humans and to retrospectively compare PEG fusion to standard nerve repair.
METHODS - Patients with traumatic lacerations involving digital nerves were treated with PEG after standard microsurgical neurorrhaphy. Sensory assessment after injury was performed at 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 months using static two-point discrimination and Semmes-Weinstein monofilament testing. The Medical Research Council Classification (MRCC) for Sensory Recovery Scale was used to evaluate the level of injury. The PEG fusion group was compared to patient-matched controls whose data were retrospectively collected.
RESULTS - Four PEG fusions were performed on four nerve transections in two patients. Polyethylene glycol therapy improves functional outcomes and speed of nerve recovery in clinical setting assessed by average MRCC score in week 1 (2.8 vs 1.0, p = 0.03). At 4 weeks, MRCC remained superior in the PEG fusion group (3.8 vs 1.3, p = 0.01). At 8 weeks, there was improvement in both groups with the PEG fusion cohort remaining statistically better (4.0 vs 1.7, p = 0.01).
CONCLUSION - Polyethylene glycol fusion is a novel therapy for peripheral nerve repair with proven effectiveness in animal models. Clinical studies are still in early stages but have had encouraging results. Polyethylene glycol fusion is a potential revolutionary therapy in peripheral nerve repair but needs further investigation.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE - Therapeutic study, level IV.
Cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 play important roles in polarization of macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2 phenotype, which is important for recovery from acute kidney injury. Both IL-4 and IL-13 activate JAK3/STAT6 signaling. In mice with diphtheria toxin receptor expression in proximal tubules (selective injury model), a relatively selective JAK3 inhibitor, tofacitinib, led to more severe kidney injury, delayed recovery from acute kidney injury, increased inflammatory M1 phenotype markers and decreased reparative M2 phenotype markers of macrophages/dendritic cells, and development of more severe renal fibrosis after diphtheria toxin administration. Similarly, there was delayed recovery and increased tubulointerstitial fibrosis in these diphtheria toxin-treated mice following tamoxifen-induced deletion of both IL-4 and IL-13, with increased levels of M1 and decreased levels of M2 markers in the macrophages/dendritic cells. Furthermore, deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 led to a decrease of tissue reparative M2a phenotype markers but had no effect on anti-inflammatory M2c phenotype markers. Deletion of IL-4 and IL-13 also inhibited recovery from ischemia-reperfusion injury in association with increased M1 and decreased M2 markers and promoted subsequent tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Thus, IL-4 and IL-13 are required to effectively polarize macrophages/dendritic cells to an M2a phenotype and to promote recovery from acute kidney injury.
Copyright © 2016 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
After lesions of the somatosensory dorsal column (DC) pathway, the cortical hand representation can become unresponsive to tactile stimuli, but considerable responsiveness returns over weeks of post-lesion recovery. The reactivation suggests that preserved subthreshold sensory inputs become potentiated and axon sprouting occurs over time to mediate recovery. Here, we studied the recovery process in 3 squirrel monkeys, using high-resolution cerebral blood volume-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (CBV-fMRI) mapping of contralateral somatosensory cortex responsiveness to stimulation of distal finger pads with low and high level electrocutaneous stimulation (ES) before and 2, 4, and 6weeks after a mid-cervical level contralateral DC lesion. Both low and high intensity ES of digits revealed the expected somatotopy of the area 3b hand representation in pre-lesion monkeys, while in areas 1 and 3a, high intensity stimulation was more effective in activating somatotopic patterns. Six weeks post-lesion, and irrespective of the severity of loss of direct DC inputs (98%, 79%, 40%), somatosensory cortical area 3b of all three animals showed near complete recovery in terms of somatotopy and responsiveness to low and high intensity ES. However there was significant variability in the patterns and amplitudes of reactivation of individual digit territories within and between animals, reflecting differences in the degree of permanent and/or transient silencing of primary DC and secondary inputs 2weeks post-lesion, and their spatio-temporal trajectories of recovery between 2 and 6weeks. Similar variations in the silencing and recovery of somatotopy and responsiveness to high intensity ES in areas 3a and 1 are consistent with individual differences in damage to and recovery of DC and spinocuneate pathways, and possibly the potentiation of spinothalamic pathways. Thus, cortical deactivation and subsequent reactivation depends not only on the degree of DC lesion, but also on the severity and duration of loss of secondary as well as primary inputs revealed by low and high intensity ES.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and independent risk factor for death and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Despite promising preclinical data, there is no evidence that antioxidants reduce the severity of injury, increase recovery, or prevent CKD in patients with AKI. Pyridoxamine (PM) is a structural analog of vitamin B6 that interferes with oxidative macromolecular damage via a number of different mechanisms and is in a phase 3 clinical efficacy trial to delay CKD progression in patients with diabetic kidney disease. Because oxidative stress is implicated as one of the main drivers of renal injury after AKI, the ability of PM to interfere with multiple aspects of oxidative damage may be favorable for AKI treatment. In these studies we therefore evaluated PM treatment in a mouse model of AKI. Pretreatment with PM caused a dose-dependent reduction in acute tubular injury, long-term postinjury fibrosis, as well as improved functional recovery after ischemia-reperfusion AKI (IR-AKI). This was associated with a dose-dependent reduction in the oxidative stress marker isofuran-to-F2-isoprostane ratio, indicating that PM reduces renal oxidative damage post-AKI. PM also reduced postinjury fibrosis when administered 24 h after the initiating injury, but this was not associated with improvement in functional recovery after IR-AKI. This is the first report showing that treatment with PM reduces short- and long-term injury, fibrosis, and renal functional recovery after IR-AKI. These preclinical findings suggest that PM, which has a favorable clinical safety profile, holds therapeutic promise for AKI and, most importantly, for prevention of adverse long-term outcomes after AKI.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
BACKGROUND - Colorectal resections alter colonic motility, including disruption of control by neural or bioelectrical cell networks. The long-term impact of surgical resections and anastomoses on colonic motor patterns has, however, never been assessed accurately. Fibreoptic high-resolution colonic manometry was employed to define motility in patients who had undergone distal colorectal resection.
METHODS - Recruited patients had undergone distal colorectal resections more than 12 months previously, and had normal bowel function. Manometry was performed in the distal colon (36 sensors; 1-cm intervals), with 2-h recordings taken before and after a meal, with comparison to controls. Analysis quantified all propagating events and frequencies (cyclical, short single, and long single motor patterns), including across anastomoses.
RESULTS - Fifteen patients and 12 controls were recruited into the study. Coordinated propagating events directly traversed the healed anastomoses in nine of 12 patients with available data, including antegrade and retrograde cyclical, short single and long single patterns. Dominant frequencies in the distal colon were similar in patients and controls (2-3 cycles/min) (antegrade P = 0·482; retrograde P = 0·178). Compared with values before the meal, the mean(s.d.) number of dominant cyclical retrograde motor patterns increased in patients after the meal (2·1(2·7) versus 32·6(31·8) in 2 h respectively; P < 0·001), similar to controls (P = 0·178), although the extent of propagation was 41 per cent shorter in patients, by a mean of 3·4 cm (P = 0·003). Short and long single propagating motor patterns were comparable between groups in terms of frequency, velocity, extent and amplitude.
CONCLUSION - Motility patterns and meal responses are restored after distal colorectal resection in patients with normal bowel function. Coordinated propagation across healed anastomoses may indicate regeneration of underlying cellular networks.
© 2016 BJS Society Ltd Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Recovery from organ-specific autoimmune diseases largely relies on the mobilization of endogenous repair mechanisms and local factors that control them. Natural killer (NK) cells are swiftly mobilized to organs targeted by autoimmunity and typically undergo numerical contraction when inflammation wanes. We report the unexpected finding that NK cells are retained in the brain subventricular zone (SVZ) during the chronic phase of multiple sclerosis in humans and its animal model in mice. These NK cells were found preferentially in close proximity to SVZ neural stem cells (NSCs) that produce interleukin-15 and sustain functionally competent NK cells. Moreover, NK cells limited the reparative capacity of NSCs following brain inflammation. These findings reveal that reciprocal interactions between NSCs and NK cells regulate neurorepair.
OBJECTIVE - Major lower extremity (MLE) amputation is a common procedure that results in a profound change in a patient's life. We sought to determine the association between social support and outcomes after amputation. We hypothesized that patients with greater social support will have better post amputation outcomes.
METHODS - From November 2011 to May 2013, we conducted a cross-sectional, observational, multicenter study. Social integration was measured by the social integration subset of the Short Form Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique. Systemic social support was assessed by comparing a United States and Tanzanian population. Walking function was measured using the 6-minute walk test and quality of life (QoL) was measured using the EuroQol-5D.
RESULTS - We recruited 102 MLE amputees. Sixty-three patients were enrolled in the United States with a mean age of 58.0. Forty-two (67%) were male. Patients with low social integration were more likely to be unable to ambulate (no walk 39% vs slow walk 23% vs fast walk 10%; P = .01) and those with high social integration were more likely to be fast walkers (no walk 10% vs slow walk 59% vs fast walk 74%; P = .01). This relationship persisted in a multivariable analysis. Increasing social integration scores were also positively associated with increasing QoL scores in a multivariable analysis (β, .002; standard error, 0.0008; P = .02). In comparing the United States population with the Tanzanian cohort (39 subjects), there were no differences between functional or QoL outcomes in the systemic social support analysis.
CONCLUSIONS - In the United States population, increased social integration is associated with both improved function and QoL outcomes among MLE amputees. Systemic social support, as measured by comparing the United States population with a Tanzanian population, was not associated with improved function or QoL outcomes. In the United States, steps should be taken to identify and aid amputees with poor social integration.
Copyright © 2016 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As in other age-related neurodegenerative diseases, progression of neurodegeneration in glaucoma involves early axonopathy. In glaucoma, this is marked by degradation of active transport along retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons projecting from the retina to the brain. In experimental systems, transport degradation occurs first in the most distal site in the RGC projection, the superior colliculus (SC) of the midbrain. Even as degradation progresses from one retinotopic sector to the next, important structures in the affected sectors persist, including synapses from RGC axon terminals onto SC neurons. This structural persistence is accompanied by focally increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor in hypertrophic SC astrocyte glia and defines a therapeutic window of opportunity. Thus, central brain structures in glaucoma may respond to disease-relevant stress by induction of mechanisms useful for maintaining retinal signals.
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS - Dysphagia and esophageal stricture are frequent consequences of treatment for head and neck cancer. This study examines the effectiveness of the anterograde-retrograde rendezvous procedure and serial dilations in reestablishing esophageal patency to allow return to oral diet and gastrostomy tube removal in a cohort of patients with complete or near-complete esophageal stricture following nonsurgical cancer treatment.
STUDY DESIGN - Retrospective review of patients treated with radiation therapy with or without concurrent chemotherapy presented with complete or near-complete esophageal stricture. Patients underwent serial dilations using combined anterograde-retrograde dilation (rendezvous) techniques.
METHODS - Medical records of patients having undergone treatment between 2006 and 2012 were reviewed, and semistructured interviews were also conducted to determine current swallowing function and actual patient experience. The primary outcome was swallowing improvement that allowed for return to oral diet and/or gastrostomy tube removal. Outcomes were compared between patients with complete and near-complete (<5 mm in diameter) strictures and univariate analysis performed to identify associations between patient, cancer, and treatment characteristics on odds of gastrostomy tube removal.
RESULTS - Twenty-four patients (median age 59.5 years, 63% male, 91% Caucasian) underwent treatment. Fifty percent of patients had complete occlusion of the esophageal lumen. The majority of patients (92%) underwent either anterograde (54%) or combined antero-retrograde (38%) approach. Following a median (interquartile range) of 9 (6-20) dilation sessions, 42% of patients were able to return to an oral diet and/or had their gastrostomy tube removed. This outcome was independent of whether the stricture was complete or near complete (P = .67). Of patients who had their gastrostomy tubes removed, only 33.3% had ever smoked, compared to 92.3% of those whose tubes were not discharged (P = .007).
CONCLUSIONS - Recannulation is possible even in cases of complete or near-complete stricture. Several factors appear to impact the likelihood of successful outcome, but in this study, only patients with a history of smoking had a significantly lower likelihood of return to full oral diet.
© 2014 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.